Enterprise announces Texas crude storage expansion

Enterprise Products Partners said this week that it will expand its crude oil storage and distribution system in Southeast Texas over the next 18 months.

The project should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the company.

Enterprise will also expand its Enterprise Crude Oil Houston storage facility, which will have access to the company’s marine terminal at Morgan’s Point on the Houston Ship Channel.

Enterprise spokesman Rick Rainey said the company would not disclose the cost of the project.

Gulf Coast refineries have historically relied on waterborne imports of crude oil but as increasing amounts of lower-priced shale oil have been produced from the Eagle Ford, Bakken and other shale formations in the United States and Canada, refiners have been eager to replace the higher-priced foreign crude oil.

Enterprise said its expansion includes an additional four million barrels of new crude oil storage at the Enterprise Crude Oil Houston and Bertron storage facilities, along with about 55 miles of 24-inch and 36-inch pipeline to directly connect the Enterprise Crude Oil Houston storage facility — known as ECHO — with major refineries in Southeast Texas.

Refineries affected by the expansion are located along the Houston Ship Channel and in Baytown, Texas City, Beaumont and Port Arthur, Rainey said.

A.J. “Jim” Teague, chief operating officer at Enterprise, said refiners are responding to the rapidly changing market.

“We have received strong interest from our customers to expedite the development of additional storage capacity and distribution capability to facilitate their consumption of the different grades of crude oil and to provide flow and quality assurance to their refineries,” he said in a statement.

“We believe ECHO will become the critical link between the new pipelines bringing supplies from the producing basins and the end use refining market in Southeast Texas.”

Enterprise, in a joint venture with Enbridge, last year reversed the flow of the Seaway pipeline, which had carried oil north from the Texas coast to Cushing, Okla. The companies expanded the capacity of the Seaway earlier this year.