Pipeline deal will ease crude bottleneck

Nov. 17, 2011
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Canadian firm Enbridge Inc. has agreed to buy 50% of a pipeline that currently moves oil from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Oklahoma. Enbridge plans to reverse the pipeline’s flow— a move that the newspaper said could ease a bottleneck of crude in the Midwest.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Canadian firm Enbridge Inc. has agreed to buy 50% of a pipeline that currently moves oil from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Oklahoma. Enbridge plans to reverse the pipeline’s flow— a move that the newspaper said could ease a bottleneck of crude in the Midwest.

Enbridge said it would pay $1.15 billion for ConocoPhillip's 50% stake in the Seaway Crude Pipeline System, becoming joint owner of the line with Enterprise Products Partners LP, the line's operator.

The WSJ report said the joint owners had agreed to reverse the flow of a 500-mi. portion of the line, to bring crude from Cushing, OK, an oil storage hub, to the Houston-area refining market. Pending regulatory approval of the reversal, the pipeline could ship an initial 150,000 barrels of crude per day by the second quarter of next year, according to the two firms.

The 670-mi. Seaway Crude Pipeline System (SCPS) includes the 500-mi., 30-in. diameter Freeport, TX, to Cushing, OK, long-haul system, as well as the Texas City Terminal and Distribution System, which serves refineries in the Houston and Texas City areas. SCPS also includes 6.8 million barrels of crude oil tankage on the Texas Gulf Coast and four import docks at two locations.

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