Port Oil Train Terminal Canceled

Plans that would have brought trains filled with crude oil to the Port of Tacoma by rail has been formally cancelled.

Under the now canceled deal, Targa Sound Terminals would have constructed a new terminal at the Port, where trains full of crude oil from oil fields in Montana would have been either processed by US Oil or transferred to barges for transport to other west coast refineries.

The News Tribune is now reporting that the deal is off after feasibilty studies convinced Targa that the planned project wouldn't be economically viable. The company isn't going into much detail on why the deal won't pencil, simply citing a combination of "commercial, schedule and regulatory issues." The existing Targa Terminal location will continue to operate.

The loss of Targa's lease for the site (formerly the Kaiser Aluminum smelter) will be a blow to the Port's plans to diversify its business, and will mean that 50 or so jobs that would have been created won't be. It also means that Tacoma is, at least for now, stepping back from a business that has drawn growing concerns, particularly following the catastrophic explosion of an oil train in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec earlier this year.

When Targa announced its plans for the new terminal, the Port began work to extend two train tracks to the location, and to complete the environmental clean-up of the former smelter site. Both of those projects will continue, and the Port seems optimistic about continued interest in development of the property, which they're saying is one of the few shovel-ready sites for such a large-scale operation on the water on the West Coast. Although this project won't be happening, at least for now, who knows what's next...

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