March 15, 2019 / 11:14 PM / 3 months ago

U.S. suspends review on Trafigura oil-port project -official

HOUSTON, March 15 (Reuters) - U.S. maritime officials have suspended their review of Swiss trader Trafigura AG’s application for a Gulf Coast deepwater terminal while they await additional information, a U.S. Coast Guard official said on Friday.

Trafigura is one of four groups seeking U.S. permits to build deepwater oil export facilities capable of fully loading supertankers that carry 2 million barrels. The projects are designed to load oil flowing from U.S. shale fields onto tankers that will carry it to Asia, Latin America and Europe.

The Maritime Administration and U.S. Coast Guard called on Trafigura to provide data on pipeline construction through waterways and on its consultations with groups like the Texas Historical Commission, which focuses on historic preservation, among other things.

The suspension will result in at least a one-month delay in Trafigura’s plans, the Coast Guard said.

Trafigura downplayed the significance of the suspension and said it was working to provide the requested information.

It is a common event “to ensure officials have adequate time to review materials or to allow the applicant to provide additional information,” spokeswoman Victoria Dix said in an emailed statement.

Such “stop clock” notices are common in such regulatory reviews, said Curtis Borland, an attorney-advisor at the Coast Guard in Washington. “I’m not aware of any other deepwater port application that has not received a ‘stop clock’ letter.”

In addition to Trafigura, Carlyle Group, Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc have filed applications with the U.S. regulators to build such ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast. (Reporting by Collin Eaton in Houston Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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