ARCO Chemical Company
Channelview, TX, U.S.

ARCO Barge Terminal

​ARCO Chemical Company awarded Fluor the engineering and construction of their new barge terminal project in Channelview, Texas. The complete facility includes two finger piers, mooring dolphins, spill control systems and onshore pipelines and is capable of accommodating eight barges simultaneously.​

Client's Challenge

​Expanding the shipping distribution facilities, the new barge terminal will have two docks. Dock One is the product loading dock used for shipping styrene, ethylene glycol, propylene oxide and ethyl benzene. Dock Two is the receiving facility to provide fuel oil, caustic and raw material feedstocks for start-up for an adjacent chemical plant.

Fluor's Solution

Extensive dredging operations were required at the onset of the project as the abandoned sand pit site had to be deepened to handle barges and tug vessels. A channel also had to be cut to connect the San Jacinto River and further deepen the terminal basis.

An interesting aspect of the job is the spill control system, which provides an immediate temporary spill retardant backed up by a more efficient boom system. The immediate control system uses an underwater pipe fitted with hundreds of nozzles.

A compressor onshore is started should a spill occur, which forces air into the pipe/nozzles, forming a curtain of air bubbles to contain the spilled material. The bubble barrier retards the progress of the spill, while a utility boat positions the floating rubber boom across the basin to completely retain then recover by a separator system.


​The barge terminal was completed and became ​operational in December 1976.​​