NuStar announces Niobrara shale-to-Texas crude pipeline

NuStar Energy LP affiliate NuStar Logistics LP launched a binding open season to assess shipper interest in firm priority space on its Niobrara Falls Project transporting crude oil from the Niobrara shale near Platteville and Watkins, Colo., to Wichita Falls, Tex. The pipeline would deliver to various facilities along the way including Suncor Energy's Denver refinery; Valero Energy's McKee, Tex., and Ardmore, Okla., refineries; and WRB's Borger, Tex., refinery.

NuStar expects that at Wichita Falls shippers would have the option to access the Nederland-Beaumont, Tex. market and the Cushing hub via third-party pipelines via connections at Wichita Falls to both Sunoco Logistics Partners LP’s Permian Express Phase I project and the Basin System. The pipeline would also be able to transport Granite Wash and Permian basin crude to NuStar's Dixon, Tex., tank farm.

Niobrara Falls would include construction of crude pipelines from gathering locations in Colorado to a tie-in point on NuStar's existing 10-in. OD McKee-to-Denver petroleum products pipeline. The NuStar Colorado 10-in. pipeline would be converted to crude oil service, reversed, and connected with NuStar's existing 14-in. OD Wichita Falls-to-McKee crude pipeline, which would also be reversed. The NuStar Colorado 10-in. pipeline would have 70,000-75,000 b/d capacity, and the NuStar Wichita Falls 14-in. pipeline would carry 125,000-130,000 b/d. Shippers would have the option to contract for storage at the origin points near Platteville and Watkins.

Subject to sufficient commitments from shippers, necessary permits, and regulatory and internal approvals, NuStar expects the Wichita Falls pipeline portion of the Niobrara Falls project to begin service second-quarter 2013, with full service beginning first-quarter 2014.

The open season will end Nov. 15. Commitment terms of 5, 7, or 10 years are available.

Oneok Partners LP announced its Bakken-to-Cushing Bakken Crude Express Pipeline earlier this year, noting that its route would position it well to transport Niobrara crude as well as barrels from the Bakken shale. The company expects early-2015 completion (OGJ Online, Apr. 9, 2012).

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

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