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Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC (Seaway) is a 50/50 joint venture between Enterprise Products Partners L.P., the operator, and Enbridge Inc., which purchased its ownership interest from ConocoPhillips on November 16, 2011. The Seaway system includes a 500-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline between Cushing, Oklahoma and the Freeport, Texas area, and a terminal and distribution crude oil network originating in Texas City, Texas that serves all of the refineries in the Greater Houston area.
On May 17, 2012 Enterprise and Enbridge completed a project to reverse the flow direction of the Seaway Pipeline, allowing it to transport crude oil from the bottlenecked Cushing, Oklahoma hub to the vast refinery complex along the Gulf Coast near Houston. The first volumes arrived at the Jones Creek terminal, just north of Freeport, on June 6, 2012. In reversed service the line has a capacity of 150,000 barrels per day (BPD). Following pump station additions and modifications, anticipated to be completed in January 2013, the capacity of the reversed Seaway Pipeline will increase to approximately 400,000 BPD of crude oil, assuming a mix of light and heavy grades.
During a binding open commitment period held January 4, 2012 to February 10, 2012, shippers executed long-term, crude oil transportation agreements that provided the support necessary to move forward with construction of a loop (twin) of the Seaway Pipeline. The new pipeline, which is designed to parallel the existing right-of-way from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, is expected to more than double Seaway's capacity to 850,000 BPD by first quarter 2014.
As part of the Seaway reversal and expansion projects, additional pipelines are being constructed that will allow shippers to access Enterprise's ECHO crude oil storage facility in southeast Houston and the Port Arthur/Beaumont refining complex.
Providing southbound capacity to the Gulf Coast from the oversupplied Cushing hub will facilitate the development of crude oil from growing North American basins, reduce the need for imported supplies and promote domestic energy security. Expansion of the Seaway system and its ongoing operation is expected to generate more than 3,000 jobs. Other benefits include increased use of local goods and services and additional tax revenue for the states and communities in which the infrastructure will be located.