Port approves lease for oil storage

Port of Greater Baton Rouge commissioners approved a lease Monday for BR Port Services LLC’s use of about 91 acres to store and pump millions of barrels of oil and other petroleum products annually to large ocean-going vessels.

As outlined by Jay Hardman, the port’s executive director, the lease means more than $2 million in annual revenue for the port. Should BR Port Services — a wholly owned subsidiary of Houston-based Genesis Energy LP — exercise a lease option it holds on another 30.8 acres, it could pay the port more than $2.6 million annually.

BR Port Services could cancel the agreement prior to March 31, 2015, said Hardman and Barry Wilkinson, the port’s director of corporate and legal affairs. Such action would cost the Delaware-chartered company $125,000.

“After that (March 31, 2015), they have no more opportunity to get out of it,” Wilkinson added.

Commissioners also made the lease conditional upon BR Port Services’ agreement to limit the capacity of one storage tank on a 5.68-acre tract near a Port Allen baseball field to 20,000 barrels.

Because the lease agreement states that BR Port Services will not be required to pay rent until its terminal begins commercial operation, commissioners insisted that the document be amended to define “commercial operation.” That definition, commissioners said, means oil storage on the site will trigger lease payments, not just the initial transmission of oil to Aframax-class tankers docked in Port Allen.