Carlyle in talks with pipeline firms to sell 25% stake in U.S. oil export project: source

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Carlyle Group LP is in discussions with three companies that operate pipelines and terminals to sell a 25% stake in its Corpus Christi, Texas, crude oil export terminal for $625 million, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Carlyle is also in talks with the three companies to jointly operate a crude oil pipeline from Houston to Corpus Christi, the source said. The identities of the companies could not be immediately learned.

Carlyle and other companies are working to open at least eight facilities to export U.S. crude oil to global markets from the U.S. Gulf Coast. The United States is now producing more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd), more than Saudi Arabia and Russia. Last week, U.S. crude exports were near a new record at nearly 3.4 million bpd.

A deal with one of the three companies, which operate facilities in Houston, could happen as early as Friday, according to the source.

The joint-venture pipeline would carry crude from Houston to Corpus Christi with an estimated capacity of between 700,000 to 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), the source said.

It would provide alternate access to U.S. oil producers. Carlyle’s facility has existing connections to producers in the Eagle Ford and the Permian Basin, two of the largest U.S. oil fields.

Carlyle-backed Lone Star Ports LLC is proposing a 1.4 million bpd export facility on a harbor island near Corpus Christi. It has said it expects to begin operations at the facility in October 2020.

Lone Star Ports and its partner, the Port of Corpus Christi, have filed for permits to build a deepwater port that could handle tankers carrying up to 2 million barrels of oil.

Reporting by Collin Eaton in Houston; Editing by Cynthia Osterman