Jan 14 (Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Energy Partners on Monday said it will invest $170 million to build a new shipping dock and add refined fuel storage tanks in the Houston Ship Channel, in step with increasing U.S. fuel exports.
The company made the announcement just days after the expanded 400,000 barrels-per-day Seaway pipeline began pumping crude oil to Houston, Texas, giving nearby refiners better access to cheap U.S. crude and adding to their incentive to export refined products.
Kinder Morgan said it has a letter-of-intent agreement with a major refiner on the Houston Channel to build six tanks with 150,000-barrel capacity and four more with 75,000-barrel capacity. The tanks will be connected to Kinder Morgan's Galena Park terminal and the refinery and store gasoline and other refined products, according to Joe Hollier, a spokesman with Kinder Morgan.
Hollier declined to identify the refiner.
The new dock can handle ocean-going vessels and will serve up to eight of the refinery's vessels and four Kinder Morgan vessels every month.
"This project will alleviate existing dock congestion among Kinder Morgan's Houston Ship Channel terminals (and) provide additional export capacity value," Jeff Armstrong, president of Kinder Morgan, said in a statement.
Kinder Morgan recently started a crude oil and condensates pipeline that can transport 50,000 bpd of condensate from the Eagle Ford shale play in south Texas to the Houston Ship Channel.