FAQs - Seaway Pipeline

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Seaway Pipeline System?

A: The Seaway Pipeline System is comprised of crude oil pipelines, storage and distribution infrastructure dedicated to providing refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast secure and reliable supplies of North American crude oil. Seaway Crude Pipeline LLC is a 50/50 joint venture between Enterprise Products Partners L.P. and Enbridge Inc.

Q: Why was the direction of the pipeline reversed?

A: Growing North American crude oil production, combined with a lack of southbound pipeline capacity, created a bottleneck at the Cushing hub in Oklahoma. The reversal gives producers in established and emerging domestic basins the capability to serve the world's largest concentration of refineries, located along the Gulf Coast, which has reduced shipments of imported crude oil.

Q: What types of crude oil are transported on the Seaway system?

A: The pipelines carry a wide variety of crude oil originating from various North American production areas, including the Midcontinent, the emerging Bakken play in North Dakota, the Permian Basin in West Texas and Canada. All of these varieties are in demand from Gulf Coast refiners.

Q: Does the heavier crude oil from Canada create any special challenges for the pipeline?

A: No. The characteristics of Canadian heavy crude oil differ very little from the Venezuelan and Mexican production that has been transported through the Seaway system since 1995 and no additional modifications or operational changes are required to continue operating safely and reliably. All grades of crude oil transported on the Seaway system are required to meet certain specifications to protect the integrity of the infrastructure, and those specifications will not be changing.

Q: How does the crude oil eventually make it to the Gulf Coast refineries?

A: A 36-inch diameter, 65-mile pipeline lateral was built from the Seaway Jones Creek Terminal, north of Freeport, to Enterprise's ECHO crude oil storage facility in southeast Houston. From ECHO, shippers are able to access refineries via pipeline and waterborne transportation along the Houston Ship Channel. Additionally, a new 30-inch diameter, 95-mile pipeline transports crude oil from ECHO to the Port Arthur/Beaumont refining complex. The infrastructure gives shippers access to more than 4 million BPD of Gulf Coast refining capacity.

Q: What measures are in place to ensure the safety of the pipeline?

A: A comprehensive safety and integrity management program is in place that is designed to help ensure reliable operation of the Seaway system, as well as protection of the public, employees, contractors and the environment. State-of-the-art electronic systems that provide 24/7 electronic monitoring and corrosion protection of pipelines, in conjunction with internal integrity testing, routine ground and air surveillance, and public outreach programs, are among the protective measures in place.

Q: How does Seaway benefit the communities in which it is located?

A: Construction and ongoing operation of Seaway has generated more than 3,000 temporary and full-time jobs. In addition, states and communities along the pipeline have benefited economically from increased use of local goods and services, and additional tax revenues that support public works and educational programs. By providing an outlet for growing supplies of North American crude oil, the Seaway Pipeline supports continued development of domestic resources, which is a strong economic driver in energy-producing areas and the refining sector.

Q: How has America benefited from Seaway?

A: By facilitating the development of domestic crude oil reserves, Seaway helps reduce the need for foreign imports and promotes energy security.

Q: What steps were taken to minimize Seaway's environmental impact?