Big business in black oil
BOSTCO / La Porte, Texas
“Black oil” is a term describing residual fuels. “Although quite literally from the bottom of the barrel,” wrote the Houston Business Journal, “these byproducts of petroleum refining are both big business themselves and, through their use in marine shipping, essential cogs in the global economic machine.”
The Battleground Oil Specialty Terminal Co. (BOSTCO) was created to provide an alternative, providing storage for residual fuel oil and slurry oil, with the potential for handling vacuum gas oil, blendstocks, and cleaner crude at a later date.
“This terminal is going to be a new modern facility by design and operation,” said BOSTCO founder John L. McDonald. “It’s going to be a cost-effective, high-speed operation and a formidable operation.”
In 2010, Mott MacDonald was retained to assist in tanker and barge mooring system design and evaluate mooring conditions at the Tanker Dock and Barge Docks 1 and 2 at the proposed BOSTCO Terminal. The goal was to assess the impact of passing vessels, winds, and currents on the mooring system and berthed tankers.
Static and dynamic mooring simulations were analyzed using the OPTIMOOR program. Environmental forces included winds, wind-waves, and tidal and river currents. Local wind data was used to predict extreme wind conditions.
Hydrodynamic forces generated by passing vessels were calculated using the Vessel Hydrodynamics Longwave Unsteady (VH-LU) model, widely recognized as the most sophisticated tool in the industry. These forces, which are also used to design shoreline protection systems, consist of current velocities and water level fluctuations created by passing vessels. A wide variety of passing ship conditions were evaluated during the analysis.
It October 2013, it was announced that about 20 of the 51 storage tanks planned for Phase 1 construction were being placed into service, with the rest to come online during the next six months. A two-berth ship dock and 12 barge berths were also ready to begin service.
Phase 2 of construction was underway for the construction of an additional six storage tanks, additional pipelines, and facilities capable of loading 25,000 barrels per hour.
RBN Energy reported that the BOSTCO terminal “has proven popular with the market as the initial capacity is fully subscribed.” When the project is complete, BOSTCO expects to offer storage for up to 6.2 million barrels of black oil and 900,000 barrels of ultra-low-sulfur diesel.