Seaway oil pipeline to start service at full capacity
BY LYNN DOAN Bloomberg News
Friday, January 04, 2013
1/04/13 at 4:36 AM
Read more energy stories that impact Tulsa.Original Print Headline: Seaway oil pipeline to increase flow rates
Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc. plan to resume service on the 500-mile Seaway oil pipeline at full rates next week after more than doubling the barrels-per-day capacity of the line, which runs from Cushing to Freeport, Texas, on the Gulf Coast.
"Capacity of approximately 400,000 BPD will essentially be available to shippers when service resumes," Rick Rainey, a Houston-based spokesman for Enterprise, said in an emailed response to questions Thursday.
He said Seaway was taken out of service Wednesday to finish its expansion and will return to service "late next week."
Houston-based Enterprise and Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge, the joint owners, said they suspended service on the 30-inch line to complete final connections. Capacity will rise from 150,000 barrels a day.
Higher capacity on Seaway may reduce a crude oil glut in the Mid-Continent and shrink imports to the Gulf Coast, home to about half of the country's refining facilities.
Supplies at Cushing, the delivery point for benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil futures, rose to a record 49.2 million barrels on Dec. 21, Energy Department data show.
The glut at Cushing has pushed WTI to a discount against North Sea Brent crude for more than two years. The discount narrowed 20 cents Thursday based on futures contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange and ICE Futures Europe.
Seaway used to carry imported crude north to Cushing. In May, the companies reversed the pipeline's flows to deliver oil to the Houston area.
Seaway assumed a mix of 10 percent heavy crude oil and 90 percent light in determining its initial design capacity of 135,000 barrels a day on the reversed line, the federal regulatory filing shows.
The volume and type of crudes carried by the expanded Seaway pipeline "are decisions for customers to make, depending on their individual needs," Rainey said.
The pipeline's 400,000-barrel-a-day capacity assumes a mix of light and heavy grades, he said.