Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association

Petroplex says St. James oil terminal has financing

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A group of firms led by Baton Rouge-based Petroplex International LLC said it has raised enough capital to move forward with previously announced plans to build a $600 million, 10 million-barrel oil storage terminal in St. James Parish.

“The substantial increase in crude oil production from domestic shale formations and Canadian oil sands is rapidly changing North American product supply flows and requires new infrastructure to accommodate its storage,” Mark Helmke, Petroplex president and chief operating officer, said in a news release. “The St. James region is expected to significantly benefit from new production and crude supply shifts.”

Petroplex paid $19 million in May 2011 to acquire 1,790 acres in Vacherie. Company officials said then that the storage facility would employ 70 to 100 people.

Petroplex is in an ideal location to provide terminal services for the seamless movement and storage of crude oil, refined petroleum products, chemicals, renewable fuels and the crude from Canada’s oil sands, Helmke said. The new storage facility will have access to rail, highway and water transportation, as well as refineries and manufacturers.

The facility’s initial storage capacity will be 4 million to 6 million barrels. Construction is expected to start during the first half of 2013, and the facility is expected to begin commercial operations during 2014.

Other investors in the facility are Australian investment bank Macquarie Group; Houston-based Qanta Services Inc., a Fortune 500 specialty services contractor; and Harley Franco, chief executive officer and founder of Harley Marine Services Inc., a Seattle-based transportation company with locations in eight port cities, including New Orleans.

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