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Natsios Young Architects

4 September 2005. A writes:

The particular type of mooring used at LOOP is called a SALM (Single Anchor Leg Mooring) because, well, there is a single anchor hain running between the buoy and the undersea swivel.  There are also SPMs called CALMs (catenary anchor leg mooring) which has six or eight anchor chains leading away from the buoy. 

I know this well as I spent a few years in my early career, about 30 years ago, doing some the prelimimary designs for the LOOP SALMs including doing some of the model testing and helping to write the design basis.

I find your articles very interesting and read them frequently. I'm having a hard time imaginging how terrorists could take out this terminal.  It would be extremely difficult and I would say the risk is low for catastrophic failure ... but then maybe I don't have a sufficient nefarious imagination.

4 September 2005

Port and Maritime Security: Potential for Terrorist Nuclear Attack Using Oil Tankers

Jonathan Medalia

If terrorists sought major economic damage while minimizing loss of life, they might try to target the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, or LOOP, the only U.S. deepwater oil port that can handle fully loaded supertankers. LOOP, 18 miles off the Louisiana coast, currently handles about 10% of U.S. crude oil imports.

Louisiana Offshore Oil Port:

LOOP LLC is a Limited Liability Company whose primary business is offloading foreign crude oil from tankers, storing crude oil, and transporting crude oil via connecting pipelines to refineries throughout the Gulf Coast and Midwest. LOOP is also the storage and terminalling facility for the MARS pipeline system and its supply of offshore Gulf of Mexico crude oil.

Foreign -Trade Zones Board HOME

*Import Administration* FTZ Staff Contact Information

*last update: September 2002*

[Federal Register: November 29, 1994]


DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Foreign-Trade Zones Board [Docket 37-94]

Foreign-Trade Zone 124--Gramercy, LA; Application for Subzone Status, LOOP Inc.; Lafourche and St. James Parishes, LA

An application has been submitted to the Foreign-Trade Zones Board (the Board) by the South Louisiana Port Commission, grantee of FTZ 124, requesting special-purpose subzone status for the crude oil terminal system operated by LOOP Inc., located in Lafourche and St. James Parishes, Louisiana. The application was submitted pursuant to the provisions of the Foreign-Trade Zones Act, as amended (19 U.S.C. 81a- 81u), and the regulations of the Board (15 CFR part 400). It was formally filed on November 17, 1994.

The LOOP terminal/storage system involves offshore crude oil offloading facilities, on-shore storage facilities, and a network of undersea and on-shore pipelines connecting the facilities. The facilities are used to offload, store, blend and transport crude oil to U.S. refineries. Some 30 percent of U.S. refinery capacity can be supplied by the system directly or indirectly through connecting pipeline systems and the terminal accounts for some 12 percent of U.S. crude oil imports.

The facilities for which subzone status is being requested covers two sites (981 acres) and 92 miles of pipeline. The marine terminal, which is 18 miles offshore, and the undersea pipeline beyond the 12- mile U.S. territorial limit is not included in the request because the U.S. Customs Service has determined that they are outside of Customs territory.

The proposed subzone facilities include:

--Site 1--Four Parcels owned by LOOP Inc., and 37 miles of pipeline.
--Parcel A (10 acres)--Fourchon Booster Station, Highway 1, Fourchon, LA.

--Parcel B (287 acres)--Clovelly Dome Storage Terminal, Clovelly, LA.

--Parcel C (533 acres)--Brine Storage Reservoir, Clovelly, LA.

--Parcel D (27 acres)--Operations Center, 224 E. 101 Place, Cut Off, LA.

--Site 2 (124 acres and 55 miles of pipeline)--St. James Terminal, 6695 LOCAP Road, St. James, LA, owned by LOCAP Inc., and operated by LOOP Inc. pursuant to a management agreement.

Operations and control of zone merchandise at all sites will be handled by LOOP Inc. Zone procedures would allow LOOP customers to defer Customs duty payment on foreign crude oil while it is in the LOOP system. On shipments of foreign crude to domestic refineries with subzone status, LOOP customers would be able to maintain the appropriate zone status of the crude so that these refineries can use zone procedures as authorized by the FTZ Board. This procedure will give these refineries the same opportunity to use zone procedures for foreign crude delivered from the LOOP system as those refineries with subzone status that take direct delivery of foreign crude from vessels.

In accordance with the Board's regulations, a member of the FTZ Staff has been designated examiner to investigate the application and report to the Board. Public comment is invited from interested parties. Submissions (original and 3 copies) shall be addressed to the Board's Executive Secretary at the address below. The closing period for their receipt is January 30, 1995. Rebuttal comments in response to material submitted during the foregoing period may be submitted during the subsequent 15- day period (to February 13, 1995).

A copy of the application and accompanying exhibits will be available for public inspection at each of the following locations:

Office of the Port Director, U.S. Customs Service, P.O. Box 490, Gramercy, LA 70052

Office of the Executive Secretary, Foreign-Trade Zones Board, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 3716, 14th & Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230

Dated: November 18, 1994.

John J. Da Ponte, Jr., Executive Secretary.

[FR Doc. 94-29373 Filed 11-28-94; 8:45 am]


Louisiana Offshore Oil Port



LOOP Marine Terminal Platform Source


LOOP Single Point Mooring


Tankers offload at LOOP by pumping crude oil through hoses connected to a Single Point Mooring (SPM) base. Some of these vessels require water depths of 85 feet--the water depth at each of LOOP's SPMs is 115 feet. Three SPMs are located 8,000 feet from the Marine Terminal. The SPMs are designed to handle ships up to 700,000 deadweight tons. The SPMs are 21 feet in diameter, 46 feet high and are anchored to a seabed base with an anchor chain. Mooring lines connect the bow of a tanker to the buoy and flexible hoses are used to transport crude oil from the tanker to a submarine pipeline. The buoy and hoses can rotate a full 360 degrees allowing the tanker to maintain a heading of least resistance to wind and waves. Source

LOOP Clovelly Dome Storage Terminal Source

Google Sat Image

A submarine pipeline moves crude oil to Clovelly, Louisiana, where LOOP maintains eight underground salt caverns capable of storing up to 45 million barrels of crude  oil. This storage capacity enables LOOP to store large volumes of crude oil before it is delivered to refiners in smaller batches that are more suitable for refinery tanks. The storage facilities are connected to the St. James hub by pipeline. Source

LOOP Fourchon Booster Station Source

Google Sat Image

At LOOP's Marine Terminal, vessel traffic controllers maintain a 24-hour watch over all vessel traffic in the LOOP controlled safety zone. Similar to air traffic controllers, they monitor radar and maintain continual radio communication with tankers. Source


Tanker at Single Port Mooring