Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, eyes a deal on part-built desal plant

Commissioners at the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas, US, have voted to bid for a desalination plant that is up for sale following the bankruptcy of plastics manufacturer M&G Chemicals, reports Caller Times.

If the offer is successful, ownership of the asset would be transferred to the City of Corpus Christi, with the city covering associated fees. The aim of the potential acquisition is “to ensure adequate supply of water for customers in Corpus Christi, and to enable port customers uninterrupted supply,” port commission chair Charlie Zahn told Caller Times.

The City of Corpus Christi has been exploring options for new supplies of water, and in July 2017 received a $2.75 million grant from Texas water development board to help finance a desalination project. Acquisition of the facility from cash-strapped M&G could provide a cost-effective solution.

Construction of the facility at Nueces Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, which was designed for industrial use, with capacity of 22 million US gallons a day (83,000 m3/d), is yet to complete. Port officials are working with consulting engineers in support of the acquisition process, including working out how much it will cost to complete construction, and determining the facility’s value as an industrial water source.

The Port of Corpus Christi is the number one exporter of crude oil in the US, and is anticipating significant growth on the back of three major infrastructure projects: deepening and widening its shipping channel; replacing the existing port bridge with a higher, more modern structure; and expanding capacity at Nueces railyard.

The plant at Nueces Bay was put on the market in late 2017, after M&G Chemicals filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.