Covington, La.,
08:18 PM

VIDEO: A Closer Look at LOOP LLC

Earlier this year, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC (LOOP) reached a significant milestone when it offloaded its 10 billionth barrel. Coincidentally, that barrel was part of a cargo owned by Marathon Petroleum Corporation. To date, LOOP has transported more than 12.25 billion barrels of crude oil into the U.S.

So what exactly is LOOP? Jointly owned by Marathon Pipe Line LLC, Valero, and Shell, LOOP is the single largest point of entry for waterborne crude oil coming into the U.S., including tankers carrying foreign and domestic crude oil.

Positioned some 20 miles from land in 110 feet of water, LOOP transfers crude from vessels of all sizes and then safely transports the cargoes via an undersea 48-inch pipeline to a large storage hub 45 miles away in Clovelly, La. Three pipelines then connect the onshore storage facility to refineries on the Gulf Coast and in the Midwest. LOOP also operates the 53-mile long, 48-inch diameter LOCAP pipeline that connects LOOP to the Capline pipeline at St. James, La. It also stores crude from the Houston-to-Houma pipeline.

On June 6, LOOP reached a project milestone with the 750-ton lift of a new $25 million vessel traffic control and crew quarters building from a barge onto the control platform. “The former crew headquarters was 35 years old and had passed its useful lifespan,” notes Tom Shaw, president of LOOP. “The fact that the partners approved the expenditure demonstrates the continuing importance of LOOP.” The video below captures this project’s massive scale.

Shaw notes that LOOP continues to change with the times. “With imports declining, we definitely have made some shifts in the past few years,” he says. “Our current ratio is 45 percent imported crude oil and 55 percent domestic. Of the 30 or so tankers we offload every month, 15 to 18 of them will be domestic crude. A lot of product now comes to us from the Gulf of Mexico. We also made buoy changes in 2012 to accommodate offloading by smaller tankers. In addition, Eagle Ford production is now sent by pipeline down to Corpus Christi, where MPC’s barge, ATB Liberty, delivers three to four loads of crude to LOOP each month. By adapting to changes in the market, the port is as busy as ever.”

Shaw says other news for LOOP is the launch of the first-ever storage future contract. “Selling storage on a futures market is a new product we now offer, and it trades on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange,” explains Shaw. “We hold an auction once a month and have storage auctioned out for the next year. This is an industry first.”

For more information on LOOP LLC, visit the company’s website at

Quick Facts

  • LOOP is the only port in the U.S. capable of offloading deep-draft tankers known as Ultra Large Crude Carriers (ULCCs) and Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), utilizing single-point mooring buoys and a marine terminal.
  • LOOP received its first shipment of foreign crude oil in 1981.
  • The Clovelly, La., hub is made up of eight underground caverns leached out of a naturally occurring salt dome, capable of storing approximately 60 million barrels.
  • Clovelly also includes an above-ground tank farm consisting of 15 600,000-barrel tanks, with three more 350,000-barrel tanks currently under construction.