Take a Pipe on the East Side – Enbridge Plans to Deliver Light Crude Past Chicago

The Enbridge crude oil network is North America’s largest. Its original objective was to deliver western Canadian crude to refineries in the US Midwest. Many of those refineries like the 413 Mb/d BP Whiting complex south of Chicago have spent billions upgrading to process heavy Canadian crude. But the shale boom is adding significant volumes of light crude to the Enbridge system, particularly in North Dakota. So now the company is expanding capacity to get that light crude to market in eastern Canada and the US Midwest. Today we continue our coverage of Enbridge’s expansion plans.

In Episode One of this series, we reviewed the 9 refineries in eastern Canada with combined capacity of 1.3 MMb/d. These refineries mostly process light crude that until recently has come from offshore Atlantic seaboard production and imports, but they are processing growing volumes of US shale oil today. Extensive upgrades, reversals and expansions to the Enbridge network have begun to change the dynamics of crude supply to these refineries. In Episode Two we began a description of Enbridge expansion plans with the Eastern Access project. In Episode Three we finished up the Eastern Access project plans and started on Enbridge’s Light Oil Markets Access (LOMA) projects with the Sandpiper pipeline that will deliver increased supplies of light crude from North Dakota to refineries in the US and Canadian Midwest. 

Figure #1

Source: Enbridge, RBN Energy (Click to Enlarge)

To help get your head back into Enbridge pipeline system mode, we start this episode with a summary map of the expansion projects in Figure #1 above. On the left are the Eastern Access projects and on the right the LOMA initiatives. We covered the LOMA Sandpiper project bringing additional light crude to Superior last time. We continue with the Southern Access expansion that will bring those additional supplies south from Superior to Flanagan, IL.

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