Expansion of Charleston Coal Export Terminal Under Consideration (Platts)
Kinder Morgan considering coal export terminal in Charleston: executive
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Platts)
Terminals operator Kinder Morgan is seriously considering the addition of coal export capability at its existing bulk facility in Charleston, South Carolina, according to a company executive.
The company would like to capitalize on growing long-term export demand but is waiting for a dedicated customer for the terminal, said Will Browning, commercial director for Kinder Morgan’s southeast region and overall coal business lead.
“We don’t build on speculation, we do it in lockstep with our customers,” Browning said Thursday at the Platts Coal Properties & Investment conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Right now we have a good sense of demand of exporting coal out. Hopefully we can do something in the future.”
The company’s Shipyard River Terminal previously exported coal but the equipment was removed shortly after Kinder Morgan bought the terminal, Browning said.
Houston-based Kinder Morgan purchased the terminal, along with Pier IX in Newport News, Virginia, in 1998 from Zeigler Coal Holding Co. for $35 million.
Kinder Morgan is expecting US coal export volumes this year may be slightly down on the 2012 total of around 120 million st due to lower global thermal and met coal prices making trade more difficult.
Expansion plans at terminals mainly on the US Gulf, including at the group’s facilities, will allow for any future upside, and Kinder Morgan may increase its share of US coal export business, Browning said.
The company exported 38 million st in 2012 through a variety of terminals on the East and Gulf coasts and projects the number to rise to 44 million st in 2013, partly due to terminal expansion.
The company’s largest coal export facility is Pier IX, which exported 14.4 million st in 2012. Browning said the company is adding 1 million st of capacity to the facility.
The company is also adding significant capacity to its International Marine Terminal in Louisiana. Browning said the terminal exported 3.8 million st in 2012, but plans to push annual capacity at the terminal from 10 million to 20 million st in 2014.
Kinder Morgan is also adding capacity to its two Houston terminals. Browning said the company recently converted its Deepwater terminal from petcoke to coal and last year exported 640,000 st.
Browning said the terminal will be expanded to handle 10 million st annually by the end of next year. Western coal exports are expected to be the new focus for the group’s Texas-based bulk operations.
Kinder Morgan is also working to develop a West Coast terminal for coal exports in St. Helens, Oregon. The project is in the permitting phase but would have annual capacity of roughly 20 million to 30 million st.
Browning said he and the industry have been surprised by the pushback the proposed Oregon terminal and others in the Pacific Northwest have received from communities in the region.
Despite this, Browning said the company believes at least one of the five proposed terminals is likely to come online within the next five to seven years.
“Long term, the project looks very promising on our end,” Browning said about its proposed Oregon terminal.
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