The three co-owners of the 1.2-MMb/d Capline Pipeline from St. James, LA, to Patoka, IL, have begun assessing whether there is sufficient shipper interest in reversing the flow of one of the U.S.’s largest crude oil pipelines in the early 2020s. There are good reasons both for ending Capline’s long run as a northbound-flowing pipe and for repurposing the pipeline to help transport heavy western Canadian oil and other crudes south to refineries in eastern Louisiana and Mississippi and to export markets. But there also are logical questions to ask, such as why Capline’s owners envision sending only 300 Mb/d south on the pipe, and why they don’t see the reversal occurring for five years. Today, we examine the forces behind Capline’s possible reversal and the benefits that flipping the pipe’s direction might provide.
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