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Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (“Enterprise”) (NYSE: EPD) and Enbridge Inc. (“Enbridge”) (NYSE/TSX: ENB) today announced plans to hold concurrent open seasons from January 4, 2012 through February 10, 2012 to solicit capacity commitments from shippers for an expansion of the Seaway pipeline and an extension of the pipeline into the Port Arthur/Beaumont refining market. Enterprise and Enbridge recently announced plans to reverse the flow direction of the 500-mile, 30-inch diameter Seaway crude oil pipeline, enabling it to transport crude oil from the oversupplied hub in Cushing, Oklahoma to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The initial 150,000 barrels per day (“BPD”) of capacity on the reversed system could be available by the second quarter 2012. Following pump station additions and modifications, which are expected to be completed by the first quarter 2013, capacity would increase to 400,000 BPD, assuming a mix of light and heavy grades of crude oil.
Shippers who participated in the Wrangler open season have indicated strong support for the Seaway reversal and expansion. Given the advantages associated with Seaway, Wrangler has been terminated. Depending on the results of the open season, the Seaway pipeline would be looped or twinned to create additional capacity. This new loop would be built at the size and capacity required to meet shipper needs and in a location that generally follows the route of the existing Seaway pipeline.
Michael A. Creel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise’s general partner, said, “Leveraging the benefits of the existing Seaway pipeline system, which is expected to be fully contracted, provides shippers with accelerated access to the Gulf Coast refining market, while an expansion offers incremental capacity in excess of 400,000 barrels per day and could be available in early 2014.”
The new 85-mile pipeline that will be built from Enterprise’s ECHO crude oil terminal southeast of Houston to Port Arthur, Texas will give shippers access to the region’s heavy oil refining capabilities. Service is scheduled to begin in early 2014.