By Collin Eaton
HOUSTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Lone Star Ports LLC will lead development and operation of a Carlyle Group-backed crude export terminal in Corpus Christi, Texas, that can fully load supertankers, according to a statement from the project leaders on Friday.
Carlyle Group and the Port of Corpus Christi Authority in October jointly proposed building a $1 billion crude export terminal on an island controlled by the authority. The partners have said they expect to begin operations at the facility in late 2020.
Thursday's announcement adds a project manager to oversee development and construction of the facility, one of three competing to be the first to begin operations in the area.
There are more than six proposed terminal projects along the Texas and Louisiana coasts angling to handle exports of U.S. oil, with booming production expected to reach more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd) next year.
Corpus Christi's three projects would be the closest to the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale fields. New crude pipelines that will ferry an additional 2 million bpd to the South Texas port are expected to begin operations late next year.
Lone Star, a recently formed joint venture between Carlyle and construction company The Berry Group, reached preliminary agreements to connect the proposed terminal to crude pipelines owned by Hilcorp Energy Co's Harvest Midstream and to Epic Pipeline LP. The two pipelines will have access to more than 1 million bpd of crude oil production, the companies said in a statement.
Lone Star is led by former EQT Corp midstream executive Jeremiah Ashcroft III, who has previously led development of other marine terminals.
Lone Star also disclosed a deal with services provider Martin Midstream Partners LP to work together on the Corpus Christi project.
When completed, the Carlyle-Port of Corpus Christi terminal will have the capacity to store 4 million barrels onshore and load 1.4 million bpd onto tankers.
Carlyle earlier agreed to help finance dredging of the waters near the export terminal to reach a depth of 75 feet, which would allow supertankers that carry up to 2 million barrels of crude to fully load at its docks. (Reporting by Collin Eaton; editing by G Crosse and Nick Zieminski)