The Seaway pipeline’s initial capacity to ship oil to Houston-area refineries from Cushing, Oklahoma, in the second quarter of 2012 will be based on deliveries of light crudes similar to West Texas Intermediate.
The line, which Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD) and Enbridge Inc. (ENB) said Nov. 16 can carry 150,000 barrels a day after it’s reversed, will be able to transport heavy crude immediately after the reversal, as shipper demand warrants, Rick Rainey, a Houston-based spokesman for Enterprise, said in an e-mail.
“Most of the barrels that are currently at Cushing that will be cleared out first are WTI,” he said.
The discount of WTI to European benchmark Brent oil narrowed 29 percent to an eight-month low after the reversal was announced Nov. 16.
Enterprise expects to boost the 30-inch line’s capacity to 400,000 barrels a day by early 2013 by installing more pumping equipment, according to Rainey. That capacity estimate is based on moving a mix of heavy and light oils.
“The installation of more pumping equipment will allow Seaway to accommodate the expected increase in heavier Canadian crude,” said Rainey.
Enterprise is planning to hold an open season early in the first quarter to gauge shipper interest for capacity above the 400,000 barrels a day that Seaway will be able to ship in early 2013, according to Rainey.
Mark Hurley, a senior vice president at the company, said Nov. 16 that the pipeline’s final capacity may be close to 800,000 barrels a day, depending on demand from shippers.
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