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1.2 Million BPD Capline Pipeline Could Be Retired By 2021

Pipeline

New pipelines with similar routes may drive Plains All American LP’s Capline pipeline, from Louisiana-to-Illinois, obsolete, according to a new report by Reuters.

The 1.2-million-barrel-per-day pipeline, was once the nation’s largest, but a bank report from the company’s latest investor presentation shows steep drops in volume over the past few years as competing facilities siphon off the line’s demand.

Capline will be “idled as redundant pipeline capacity,” which also transfers crude supplies from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the rest of the country, becomes active in the coming years, Houston-based analysts at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co wrote in a note. The pipeline, once an irreplaceable artery for the American oil industry, will be shut down by 2021.

"We expect that new supply pipelines could impact Capline volumes, however, any decision regarding Capline operations will be made by its owners," a spokesperson from Plains told Reuters via email on Thursday.

Plains owns a majority stake in the line, while Marathon Petroleum and British Petroleum hold minority stakes.

There are currently two pipelines (Seaway – 430,000 barrels a day, as well as Capline) bringing refined oil up from the Gulf to the Midwest. Demand for output from the refineries remains high, so prices for refined products remains high, even as prices for crude oil are low. The mismatch allows refiners large profit margins in the domestic oil game.

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Marathon has said in the past that it supports the reversal of Capline’s flow to bring heavy Canadian crude to Gulf refineries once the market turns bullish.

"It will probably be the latter part of this decade before that happens, but we have a great asset here that will be reversed someday," CEO Gary Herminger said in an interview with Reuters after a quarterly earnings call last year.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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