Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC (LOOP), the owner of the only U.S. crude oil deepwater port, has kick-started test loading of a very large crude carrier (VLCC) at its vessel loading facility, the company said on Wednesday.

The move is expected to enable the port to export crude oil via supertankers, opening an opportunity for the U.S. to bolster its exports o the back of the lifting of crude oil export ban two years ago.

The test run is being conducted by a VLCC named Shaden, according to the vessel tracking data from MarineTraffic.

The 2017-built tanker is flagged in Saudi Arabia and owned by Bahri.

The testing follows LOOP LLC’s announcement from July last year that it was seeking shipper interest in tanker loading to complement its existing offloading services.

The bi-directional operation of the complex was enabled after minor changes were made to LOOP’s existing facilities.

Namely, new service provides connecting logistics from LOOP’s Clovelly Hub in Galliano to its deepwater port, located 18 miles offshore of Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

The configuration enables both loading and offloading of VLCCs without multiple shuttle tanker movements. In practice, this means that the cost of shipping oil cargoes via ships that can carry two million barrels of oil would be significantly reduced.

The company’s deepwater port includes three single-point mooring (SPM) buoys in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, which can accommodate VLCCs, ultra-large crude carriers, medium-range Jones Act compliant tankers and floating production, storage and offloading deepwater facility shuttle tankers.

LOOP has more than 72 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity at its Clovelly Hub.

World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: Shipspotting/Lappino

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