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.
LOOP plays a key role in meeting those daily energy needs. LOOP has received over twelve billion barrels (1.91 billion m3) 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 three sources:
- Tankers carrying foreign and domestic crude oil
- Domestic crude oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico
- The Zydeco Pipeline moves domestic crude produced in the U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico
LOOP was organized in 1972 as a Delaware corporation and converted to a limited liability company in 1996. LOOP is a joint venture of Marathon Pipe Line LLC, Shell Oil Company, and Valero Terminalling and Distribution Company.
LOOP is the only port in the U.S. capable of offloading a wide range of vessels including Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCC) and Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) down to Medium Range (MR) 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 recently replaced three-level control platform. The Clovelly Hub is located twenty-five miles (40 km) inland, and is connected to the port complex by a 48-inch (122 cm) diameter pipeline. The Clovelly Hub 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. The caverns are capable of storing approximately 60 million barrels (9.54 million m3) of crude oil (a barrel of oil is equal to 42 U.S. gallons). There are three dedicated caverns for streams coming in from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico; two for Mars and one for Thunder Horse. In addition, LOOP has an above-ground tank facility consisting of fifteen 600,000 barrel (95,000 m3) tanks and seven 375,000 barrel (59,000 m3) tanks. Total crude oil storage in tanks is approximately 12 million barrels (1.91 million m3).
Three pipelines connect the Clovelly Hub to refineries in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast. LOOP also operates the 53-mile (85 km), 48-inch (122 cm) pipeline that connects LOOP to LOCAP Terminal at St. James, Louisiana. The LOCAP Terminal is connected to Plains Terminal, NuStar Terminal, Sugarland and Capline. Capline is a 40-inch (101 cm) pipeline that transports crude oil to several Midwest refineries.