UPDATE 1-ETP plans new Bakken-to-Gulf Coast pipeline after others fail

Fri Mar 7, 2014 5:40pm EST
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NEW YORK, March 7 (Reuters) - Energy Transfer Partners on Friday announced plans to build an oil pipeline from the Bakken shale in North Dakota to U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast refineries, seeking support for a major new conduit even after rivals dropped similar plans.

Dallas-based ETP said it will launch a so-called open season on March 12 to assess market interest in the project, and said one of the pipeline's destinations will be Sunoco Logistics Partners LP's Nederland, Texas terminal.

A spokeswoman for ETP declined to provide any further details on the project, including what capacity the pipeline might have or when the open season would conclude.

ETP has also been working to develop another major north-south conduit by converting a 30-inch (76-cm) existing natural gas line, known as Trunkline, to ship up to 420,000 barrels-per-day Bakken and Canadian crude from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland.

It was not clear if the two projects were related, although ETP President and Chief Operating Officer Mackie McCrea said on a conference call last month that the company was "looking for supply."

"We are chasing every opportunity and every possible project that could bring deliveries to our Trunkline systems," he said.

The proposed project is among a handful of major infrastructure investments being built or modified to ship fast-growing North American production to refiners along the coasts.

But lately, some pipeline plans have faltered, in part because of the growing popularity of shipping crude by rail, a more flexible but also much more costly mode of transport.   Continued...