HOUSTON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - The trading arm of Australian bank Macquarie Group has filed a lawsuit against Jupiter Marketing & Trading, alleging the U.S. firm breached contracts for oil purchase and storage.
Macquarie is seeking some $17.5 million in fees and outstanding payments from Jupiter, according to the suit, which was filed on Thursday in Harris County District Court in Houston. Jupiter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Privately held Jupiter is one of several pipeline and storage suppliers racing to build crude export terminals along the U.S. Gulf Coast. It has proposed a terminal in Brownsville, Texas, with 10 million barrels of storage capacity and the capability to load a Very Large Crude Carrier.
In October, Jupiter said it had secured funding to build a 680-mile crude oil pipeline from West Texas to the U.S. Gulf Coast, which could transport 1 million barrels of oil per day.
Macquarie is seeking some $3 million to terminate existing storage and purchase agreements with Jupiter and roughly $14.5 million for outstanding payments of crude oil it sold to Jupiter.
Under one of the agreements, Macquarie had rights to store crude at Jupiter’s space at a NuStar Energy facility. In December, NuStar alerted Macquarie that Jupiter was overdue on storage payments at that terminal, according to the lawsuit.
By early January, the firm told Jupiter it would terminate its agreements, requesting the termination fee and outstanding payments for oil purchased.
Representatives for NuStar did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Macquarie declined to comment. (Reporting by Liz Hampton; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)