Companies announce deal to handle crude oil at the Port of Vancouver

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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North Dakota's oil boom is bringing crude oil -- and jobs -- to the Port of Vancouver.

Tesoro Corporation and Savage Companies said today they've launched a joint venture to build and operate facilities to store, load and unload crude oil at the port. The crude oil would be shipped to the port by rail from the Bakken oil formation in North Dakota.

Under the venture, which requires approval by port commissioners and regulatory agencies, the companies would spend up to $100 million to construct the new facilities.

The operation, expected to get under way in 2014, would create an estimated 250 temporary construction jobs and 50 to 80 permanent jobs, according to port officials.

The port's West Vancouver Freight Access project, a $275 million expansion of the port's rail network, was crucial in enticing Tesoro and Savage to do the deal, port officials said.

For the port, the deal means a further diversification of its cargo mix. It also fits the port's larger strategic goal of attracting new businesses through investments in infrastructure, officials said.

"This is another piece of that puzzle," said Theresa Wagner, the port's communications manager.

This story will be updated