JONES CREEK — Multiple companies are competing for about $1 billion worth of oil export projects that would include building a tank farm outside Jones Creek, but village residents aren’t interested in any of them.
Texas COLT, a joint venture of Enbridge and Oiltanking, set up numerous tables Thursday evening in the gym at Jones Creek Baptist Church to give residents an idea of what their tank farm would look like. It is part of a deepwater port project estimated to cost upward of $1 billion, spokesman Devin Hotzel said.
One table allowed residents to use their addresses and virtually see what the tank farm would look like from their home, Hotzel said.
Among the tables of experts, barbecue and greeters was a table for Friends of Jones Creek, which started a petition against a tank farm in their area.
“We’re against a tank farm because we don’t have infrastructure for it,” member Kim Caster said.
She believes construction of a tank farm could worsen flooding in their area, which is already susceptible to those dangers, Caster said. The city also doesn’t have the emergency response services to deal with an explosion that could become a catastrophe at a tank farm, she said.
The COLT tank farm would have state-of-the-art systems to prevent any type of emergency in the first place, Hotzel said, through they would coordinate with local first responders just in case.
COLT submitted its U.S. Maritime Administration application in late February, Hotzel said. That application takes at least a year to be approved, so this project could be in service by 2022, he said.
The project would create a platform about 28 nautical miles offshore of Freeport that could load up to 2 million barrels of light sweet crude oil to very large crude carriers within 24 hours, Hotzel said. That oil would be exported to international markets, including Asia, he said.
The project would create pipeline from the Sweeny Junction and Genoa Junction to the 25-tank storage facility before sending it offshore, according to a fact sheet.
A project this large would bring along construction traffic, road damage and other impacts to the city, including economic development ripples, Hotzel said. With that, they have to be aware of what Jones Creek can sustain, he said.
An important aspect is getting information out to the residents and answering questions, which is what Thursday’s event intended to do, Hotzel said.
If Texas COLT is fortunate enough to win this project, they look forward to hiring local talent, he said.
Nicole Hardesty, a Jones Creek alderwoman, is also a member of the Friends of Jones Creek, she said. She hopes to help residents stop tank farms from coming into their area along with the traffic and road damage the project would bring, Hardesty said. She also worries about light and noise pollution a tank farm would generate, she said.
She enjoys the rural community feeling of Jones Creek and doesn’t want to see that change, she said.
The tank farm would be behind a vegetation buffer, Hotzel said. It would conceal the site in many cases, but it could still be partially visible, he said, adding it’s not clear how different seasons would affect visibility.
It’s unclear whether any of the Texas COLT, SPOT or GulfLink projects will be constructed, since there are numerous similar projects competing along the Gulf Coast.
The market can only support a certain number of projects, Hotzel said, and they estimate the market in this area will support one.
For information on the Maritime Administration applications, visit www.maritime.dot.gov/ports/deepwater-ports-and-licensing/pending-applications.