Booming US oil exports have set off a scramble to build Gulf Coast ports to handle more than 3 million barrels per day in new supplies expected over the next five years.
Of seven proposed oil-export projects, nowhere is the opportunity greater or the competition more fierce than in Corpus Christi, Texas, where three firms are vying to open the state's first deepwater port.
Commodities trader Trafigura has taken an early lead with a planned offshore facility that has an easier path to regulatory approval and faces fewer objections from environmentalists.
Its chief competitor - a partnership of investor Carlyle Group and the Port of Corpus Christi to build an onshore port - has responded by petitioning regulators to kill Trafigura's project. Port lobbyists have cited past criminal allegations involving the firm in other countries and potentially "catastrophic" environmental impacts.
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