Enterprise, ETP propose Cushing-Gulf Coast oil line

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Apr. 27 -- Enterprise Products Partners LP and Energy Transfer Partners LP have agreed to form a 50-50 joint venture to design and construct a more than 400,000 b/d oil pipeline from Cushing, Okla., to Houston. The project would also add about 500,000 bbl of storage at new facilities to be constructed and owned by the JV at Enterprise’s Houston-area ECHO oil storage terminal.

Using new and existing pipelines, the 584-mile project would originate at Enterprise’s 3.1-million bbl oil storage facility in Cushing. Enterprise and ETP would each contribute existing assets to the venture, including ETP’s 240-mile, 24-in. OD East Texas gas pipeline, which would comprise roughly 40% of the proposed system.

The 354 miles of new construction planned will follow existing pipeline right-of-ways, combining with conversion of ETP’s gas line to accelerate the project’s timeline, according to the JV. The terminus of the pipeline at ECHO will allow access to the Texas City, Pasadena/Deer Park, and Baytown refining centers and the Houston Ship Channel.

The JV expects the pipeline to enter service in fourth-quarter 2012, pending sufficient shipper interest and regulatory approvals. ETP says it expects to have firm, long-term commitments in place for all available capacity by late June. The two companies will share the pipeline’s commercial obligations and construction with Enterprise serving as operator.

Capacity constraints on moving oil out of Cushing to US Gulf Coast refining centers have caused the West Texas Intermediate crude benchmark to trade at substantial discounts both to other benchmarks such as Brent, Louisiana Light Sweet, and Urals (OGJ Online, Feb. 21, 2011) and to physical crudes being imported onto the Gulf Coast.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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