August 5, 2013
By Lisa Song
A little-known pipeline could win the race to ship heavy Canadian crude oil from the Midwest to the U.S. Gulf Coast if it comes online as planned in 2015.
Called the Eastern Gulf Crude Access Pipeline Project, the 774-mile line would be capable of carrying almost as much oil as the Keystone XL, the controversial pipeline mired in its fifth year of federal review.
The Eastern Gulf would run from Patoka, Ill. to St. James, La., carrying oil from North Dakota's Bakken formation as well as Canadian oil sands crude. Both types of oil are creating a bottleneck in the Midwest, which doesn't have the refining or pipeline capacity to handle the large amounts of oil now being produced.
Bruce Bullock, who directs the Maguire Energy Institute at the SMU Cox School of Business in Dallas, said he doesn't see the Eastern Gulf pipeline as a competitor to the Keystone XL.
It's not so much "an alternative as much as it's an addition," Bullock said. "Keystone would have about a million barrels a day. This would be a little bit smaller. If you look at production forecasts in Canadian oil sands and in the Bakken, there's probably going to be room in the marketplace for both of them."
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