Trafigura seeks investors for Texas oil terminal shipping shale

NEW YORK Wed May 21, 2014 8:08am EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global trader Trafigura AG is seeking potential investors to buy a stake in its oil terminal and storage facility in Corpus Christi, Texas, a once-quiet port that has become a bustling hub for shipping Eagle Ford shale crude.

Trafigura, which like other big commodity merchants has in recent years moved to buy key infrastructure assets to support its trading business, bought Texas Dock & Rail in early 2012, just as Eagle Ford production was emerging as the next big U.S. shale play after North Dakota's Bakken.

It has since built the facility, once home to a failed steel plant, into a major gateway for shipping rapidly growing U.S. oil production as far as Canada, with two deepwater tanker berths and an expanding suite of logistical assets.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP.N) is expected this year to start up a converted natural gas pipeline system to ship oil and condensate from Eagle Ford to the Trafigura terminal. Trafigura is also partnering with Magellan Midstream Partners LP (MMP.N), which is building a condensate splitter at the port.

"Trafigura AG confirms it is exploring strategic options with potential third-party investors in its dock and storage facilities in Corpus Christi, Texas," the company said in a statement. It said a final deal could not be assured.

"In any case, Trafigura AG is fully committed to remaining a significant stakeholder in its Corpus facilities. Trafigura's overriding mission is to help make trade happen. As such, Trafigura will continue to be an active player in the South Texas market for the foreseeable future," it said.

The potential sale was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

(Reporting by Jonathan Leff; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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