Turn the Pipe Around - Will Crude Soon Be Flowing South on Capline?

The possibility of reversing the flow on Capline — the U.S.’s largest northbound crude oil pipeline — has been discussed for a number of years now. Finally, it may be on the horizon. The three owners of Louisiana-to-Illinois pipeline announced last week that this month they plan to initiate a binding open season for a reversed Capline system that would enable southbound flows starting in the third quarter of 2020 — only a year and a half from now. And, as we discuss in today’s blog, reversing Capline’s direction could open up new crude-slate possibilities for Louisiana refineries and boost crude exports out of the Bayou State.

Every so often, the Mississippi River’s flow flips and its water runs north, if only for a few hours at a time. It happened most recently in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, in the summer of 2012, when the storm’s high winds and waters sent Ol’ Man River the other direction; it also happened during Hurricane Katrina, seven years earlier. The most amazing flow reversal of all, though, happened way back in 1812, when an estimated 8.8-magnitude earthquake — the strongest of several major quakes to hit Missouri and Arkansas that winter — shook, rattled and rolled the whole middle of North America. (The New Madrid earthquake was so strong that it collapsed brick walls as far away as Cincinnati and caused church bells to ring in Boston.)

(We just happened to know a bit about the quake, since it figures prominently in a new book by Rusty Braziel titled “KADO! - Lost Treasure of the Kadohadacho,” planned for publication later this year. Yes, fiction from Rusty. You heard it here first!)

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