HOUSTON, June 26 (Reuters) - The latest delay in a detailed government review of Tesoro Corp’s proposed $210 million railport project in Washington state means a final decision will not happen until 2016, according to a state council’s published schedule.
The 360,000 barrels-per-day project would be the biggest in the United States, moving domestic and Canadian crude via rail to Washington’s Port of Vancouver, where it would be loaded onto vessels to supply West Coast refineries - mainly in California.
The company had hoped to start it up by late 2014, and then pushed it to this year as the project undergoes a lengthy state review.
Several other oil-by-rail projects, largely in California, are stalled amid opposition after multiple crude train crashes and derailments since mid-2013.
Tesoro said the company was disappointed in “yet another delay” and remains committed to the project.
Chief Executive Greg Goff told analysts last month that the delay to 2016 was likely as the project undergoes what he called a “painfully slow” review process.
The projected cost also has more than doubled to $210 million from its original $100 million as Tesoro upgraded the design, including seismic dock improvements.
Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC)’s schedule, made public this week, says a draft environmental impact statement will be published in late November. The council had previously expected to release the draft report in late July.
State law then requires a month-long public comment period which can be lengthened.
EFSEC then will submit the final report to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has final say on whether it will be built. The new schedule, and the public comment session, pushes that submission to early 2016. Inslee will have up to two months to decide once he receives the report.
Most Washington refineries, including Tesoro’s 120,000 bpd plant in Anacortes, receive oil by rail. No major pipelines move oil west across the Rocky Mountains or the Cascades, so West Coast refineries turn to rail to tap North American crudes that cost less than imports. (Reporting by Kristen Hays; Editing by Christian Plumb)