The LOOP Story
Oil is the most important energy source in the world today, and it is an essential element of our nation’s prosperity. Oil products fuel our cars, trucks, airplanes, and factories, and oil also heats and cools our homes. As the world’s largest consumer of petroleum products, the United States relies on a steady supply of crude oil to produce products we use on a daily basis.
The U.S. imports more than 50 percent of its daily crude oil requirements and LOOP, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, plays a key role in meeting those daily energy needs. LOOP has offloaded over eleven billion barrels of foreign and domestically produced crude oil since its inception. We are the single largest point of entry for waterborne crude oil coming into the U.S.
LOOP receives and temporarily stores crude oil supplies from two sources:
Tankers carrying foreign and domestic crude oil
Domestic crude oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico
LOOP was organized in 1972 as a Delaware corporation and converted to a limited liability company in 1996. Marathon Pipe Line LLC, Valero Terminaling and Distribution Company, and Shell Oil Company are the owners of LOOP.
LOOP is the only port in the U.S. capable of offloading deep draft tankers known as Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC) and Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC). Along with offloading crude from ULCCs and VLCCs, LOOP also offloads smaller tankers.
The port consists of three single-point mooring buoys used for the offloading of crude tankers and a marine terminal consisting of a two-level pumping platform and a three-level control platform. The onshore oil storage facility, the Clovelly facility twenty-five miles inland, is connected to the port complex by a 48-inch diameter pipeline. The Clovelly facility provides interim storage for crude oil before it is delivered via connecting pipelines to refineries on the Gulf Coast and in the Midwest.
The oil is stored in eight underground caverns leached out of a naturally occurring salt dome, which are capable of storing approximately 59 million barrels of crude oil (a barrel of oil is equal to 42 U.S. gallons). Since 1996, one cavern has been dedicated to the Mars stream coming in from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, which uses the same distribution system as foreign sources. In addition, LOOP has an above-ground tank farm consisting of fifteen 600,000 barrel tanks.
Four pipelines connect the onshore storage facility to refineries in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast. LOOP also operates the 53-mile, 48-inch LOCAP pipeline that connects LOOP to Capline at St. James, Louisiana. Capline is a 40-inch pipeline that transports crude oil to several Midwest refineries.