NEW YORK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Enterprise Products Partners LP said on Wednesday it expects to receive permit approval in about 18 to 24 months for a proposed oil export terminal off the Texas Gulf Coast for supertankers.
Enterprise had started front-end engineering and design and was preparing the application for permit approval, the midstream company said in a slide presentation at a Barclays energy conference in New York on Wednesday.
The offshore terminal is underwritten by long-term contracts and is capable of loading at about 85,000 barrels per hour, Enterprise said.
Enterprise has been testing supertanker loading capabilities at the terminal since at least April and loaded the first vessel in June.
Companies have raced to build export infrastructure along the U.S. Gulf Coast after Washington lifted a four-decade ban on crude exports in late 2015.
Supertankers, or Very Large Crude Carriers, are the most efficient and cost-effective way to export crude oil to international markets since they can carry about 2 million barrels of oil.
Enterprise's crude exports totaled about 645,000 bpd in July, according to the presentation.
Overall, U.S. crude exports eased slightly in July from a record 2.2 million bpd in June, foreign trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed on Wednesday.
Enterprise is also considering additional projects to move oil out of the Permian basin of West Texas and New Mexico, the biggest U.S. oil patch, as the region's production has largely exceeded the capacity of its pipelines.
The company is still evaluating converting an existing natural gas liquids pipeline to carry crude to add incremental capacity.
The company's recently completed Midland–to–Sealy oil pipeline is currently moving volumes at full capacity, about 570,000 barrels per day.
Enterprise expects U.S oil and condensate production to reach 12 million bpd in 2020 and the nation's crude exports to climb above 4 million bpd in 2021.
U.S. crude production rose 231,000 barrels per day, or 2 percent, to a record 10.674 million bpd in June, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said last week.
Output growth from the Permian basin, which accounts for a majority of the increase in U.S. production, is expected to stall amid takeaway constraints.
Drilled-but-uncompleted wells (DUCs), especially in the Permian basin, continue to grow in number, an indication of tightness in completion services, labor and trucking, as well as production takeaway concerns, Enterprise said. (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)