Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. ( NYSE:ETP) today announced that its Board of Directors has approved building an approximate 1,100 mile crude oil pipeline (“Bakken Pipeline”) to transport crude supply from strategic receipt points in the Bakken/Three Forks production area in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, where the Bakken Pipeline will interconnect with Energy Transfer’s existing 30-inch diameter Trunkline Pipeline (“Trunkline”), which is being converted from natural gas service to crude transportation service. From Patoka, shippers will be able to access multiple markets, including Midwest markets and East Coast markets by rail as well as the Gulf Coast, via Trunkline, to the Nederland, Texas crude oil terminalling facility of Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL). Additionally, Energy Transfer will develop a rail terminal facility in Illinois to access East Coast refineries.
ETP has secured multiple long-term binding contractual commitments from shippers sufficient to fully support the construction of a 30-inch pipeline to Patoka. The 30-inch diameter pipeline will initially provide 320,000 barrels per day of capacity, and ETP could increase the capacity of the Bakken Pipeline based on additional customer demand. ETP has already begun the process of ordering steel and negotiating construction contracts for the Bakken Pipeline, and ETP expects to have the Bakken Pipeline built and in service, and the Trunkline crude oil conversion project completed and in service, by the end of 2016. ETP is in discussions with SXL regarding a potentially significant equity participation by SXL.
The construction of the Bakken Pipeline project will help further develop the crude rich areas in and around the Bakken and provide additional U.S. crude supplies to U.S. markets and refineries along the East and Gulf Coasts. The pipeline not only supports the continued growth and production on the Bakken area, but does so in a cost effective and environmentally responsible manner by reducing the current utilization of rail and truck transportation as the predominant alternative to moving Bakken crude oil volumes to major U.S. markets.
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