East Coast refiner shuns Bakken delivery as Dakota Access Pipeline starts

Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:37am EDT
 
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By Jarrett Renshaw

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Philadelphia Energy Solutions Inc, the largest refiner on the U.S. East Coast, will not be taking any rail deliveries of North Dakota's Bakken crude oil in June, a source familiar with delivery schedules said on Tuesday - a sign that the impending start of the Dakota Access Pipeline is upending trade flows.

At its peak, PES would have routinely taken about 3 miles' worth of trains filled with Bakken oil each day. But after the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline begins interstate crude oil delivery on May 14, it will be more lucrative for producers to transport oil to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The long-delayed pipeline will provide a boost for Bakken prices and unofficially end the crude-by-rail boom that revived U.S. East Coast refining operations several years ago.

"It's the new reality," said Taylor Robinson, president of PLG Consulting. "Unless there's an unforeseen event, like a supply disruption, there will be no economic incentive to rail Bakken to the East Coast."

PES declined to comment for this story.

The 1,172-mile (1,885-km) Dakota Access line runs from western North Dakota to a transfer point in Patoka, Illinois. From there, the 450,000 barrel per day line will connect to large refineries in the Nederland and Port Arthur, Texas, area.

The project became a focus of international attention, drawing protesters from around the world, after a Native American tribe sued to block completion of the final link of the pipeline through a remote part of North Dakota.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe said the pipeline would desecrate a sacred burial ground and that any oil leak would poison the tribe's water supply.   Continued...

 
Pumpjacks and other infrastructure for producing oil dot fields outside of Watford City, North Dakota January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen