Houston Bulk Terminal

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This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of coal exports

The Houston Bulk Terminal, also known as the Penn City Bulk Terminal, is a coal terminal owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners at the Port of Houston near the Gulf of Mexico in Houston, Texas.

The Houston Bulk Terminal has an annual coal capacity of 2.5 million tonnes, and exported 1.5 million tonnes in 2012. In 2013 Kinder Morgan said it planned to expand annual capacity at the terminal to 4.5 million tonnes. The terminal is served by Union Pacific and BNSF.[1][2]

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Expansion for coal

In 2011, pipeline transportation and energy storage company Kinder Morgan Energy Partners announced it had entered into an agreement with Peabody Energy to handle up to 2 million tonnes of Colorado coal annually at its Houston Bulk Terminal located on the Houston Ship Channel. To accommodate the additional tonnage, KMP will invest approximately $18 million to expand the facility. Unit trains of Union Pacific will transport bituminous coal from Colorado mines to the Houston bulk facility where the cargo will be offloaded and stored before being loaded onto ocean vessels, marking the first time that western coal will be exported from the Port of Houston.[3][4]

Peabody expected to begin shipping Colorado and Powder River Basin coal through the Houston terminal in 2014.[5]

The existing Kinder Morgan terminal exports petcoke.[6]

Sightline Institute reports "track record of pollution, lawbreaking, and cover-ups" at Kinder Morgan facilities

An April 2012 report by the environmental think tank Sightline Institute, "The Facts about Kinder Morgan," , lists a series of legal violations and pollution incidents at various Kinder Morgan terminals. The report includes the following:[7]

  • "In Louisiana, Kinder Morgan’s coal export facilities are so dirty that satellite photos clearly show coal dust pollution spewing into the Mississippi River."
  • "In South Carolina, coal dust from Kinder Morgan’s terminal contaminates oysters, pilings, and boats. Locals have even caught the company on video washing coal directly into sensitive waterways."
  • "In Virginia, Kinder Morgan’s coal export terminal is an open sore on the neighborhood, coating nearby homes in dust so frequently that even the mayor is speaking out about the problem."
  • "In Portland, Kinder Morgan officials bribed a ship captain to illegally dump contaminated material at sea, and their operations have repeatedly polluted the Willamette River."
  • "Kinder Morgan has been fined by the US government for stealing coal from customer’s stockpiles, lying to air pollution regulators, illegally mixing hazardous waste into gasoline, and many other crimes."
  • "Kinder Morgan’s pipelines are plagued by leaks and explosions, including two large dangerous spills in residential neighborhoods in British Columbia."

Project Details

  • Operator: Kinder Morgan Energy Partners
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Existing Capacity (Million tonnes per annum): 2.5
  • Additional Proposed Capacity (mtpa): 2
  • Status: Expanding
  • Type: Exports
  • Cost of expansion:
  • Financing for expansion:

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. "Kinder Morgan spending $400 million to add coal export capacity," Platts, 14 May 2013
  2. "Kinder Morgan Penn City Bulk Terminal (Houston, TX)," Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition, accessed May 2015
  3. "Kinder Morgan Energy Partners Increases Quarterly Distribution to $1.14 Per Unit" istockanalyst, April 20, 2011.
  4. Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe “US Coal Exports: The Long Road to Asian Markets,” Oxford OIES PAPER: CL 2, March 2015
  5. Daniel Cusick,"Peabody to boost exports from Gulf Coast as Pacific Northwest terminal plans stall," ClimateWire, July 18, 2012.
  6. "Houston Bulk Terminal (Port of Houston, TX)," Kinder Morgan, accessed May 2015
  7. Eric de Place, "The Facts about Kinder Morgan," Sightline Institute, April 2012

External resources

External articles