Seaway Pipeline

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Seaway Pipeline
CountryUnited States
General directionNorth-South
FromCushing, Oklahoma
ToJones Creek, Texas (adjacent to Freeport, Texas)
General information
OwnerEnterprise Partners
OperatorSeaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC
Construction started1974
Commissioned23 November 1976
Technical information
Length760 mi (1,220 km)
Maximum discharge0.4 million barrels per day (~2.0×10^7 t/a)
Diameter30 in (762 mm)

The Seaway Crude Pipeline System (SCPS), commonly known as the Seaway Pipeline, is an oil pipeline system which transports crude oil between Cushing, Oklahoma and Freeport, Texas, and through the Texas City, Texas Terminal and Distribution System on the Gulf Coast of the United States. The Seaway is an important crude oil transfer link between two petroleum regions within the United States.[1]

Although Seaway shipped oil north (to Cushing) for many years, in June 2012 the flow of the system was reversed to ship oil south (out of Cushing).


The Seaway Pipeline was originally built by a consortium of oil industry firms formed in 1974 named Seaway Pipeline, Inc. for transferring (then) cheap foreign oil from Texas ports to refineries in the Midwest. After two years of construction, the system became operational on 23 November 1976, and pumped crude oil north until 1982.[2]

In 1984, the other consortium members were bought out by Phillips. Seeking to capitalize on the pipeline's location to gather raw natural gas in Oklahoma and Texas for transport to the company's refinery complex at Sweeny, Texas, and other refineries near Houston, Phillips converted the system to ship natural gas south instead of shipping crude oil north. Phillips called that arrangement the "Seagas Pipeline".[2]

In 1995, Atlantic Richfield bought a 50% interest from Conoco through a subsidiary (ARCO Pipeline), and the system was converted from shipping natural gas south to shipping oil north to Cushing in 1996.

In 2000, Texas Eastern Products Pipeline Company (TEPP or TEPPCO), an indirect subsidiary of Duke Energy through TEPPCO Partners, bought the stock of ARCO Pipeline, acquiring their 50% interest in the system, and became the primary operator.[3]

In 2005, Texas Eastern Products Pipeline, was acquired by Enterprise Products Partners L.P. in 2005, and Enterprise Products became the system operator with a 50% stake.[4]

In late 2011, Canadian pipeline company Enbridge bought Conoco's remaining 50% interest in the company for $1.15 billion. The Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC (a joint venture between Enterprise Products and Enbridge) became the pipeline's operator.[5]

In late May 2012, the Seaway's flow was reversed, and crude began arriving at Freeport on 6 June 2012.[6][7]

On January 11, 2013, the Seaway's capacity was increased to 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m3/d).[8]

On January 30, 2017, a Texas Department of Transportation crew accidentally dug into the Seaway Pipeline near Blue Ridge, Texas, causing a large spill.[9] On January 30, 2017, a road crew punctured the Seaway pipeline near Dallas. Two days later, it was unclear how much oil had spilled over the nearby Highway 121. After the incident, supply concerns reportedly helped push oil prices 2% higher.[10]


As of June 2012, the entire system is 670 miles (1,080 km) long, of which, 500 miles (800 km) are in the 30 inches (760 mm) long-haul (Cushing to Freeport) portion of the pipeline. The system was then capable of carrying approximately 180,000 barrels per day (29,000 m3/d) of oil.

Expansion plans[edit]

Plans have been announced[11] to increase Seaway's capacity to 400,000 barrels per day (64,000 m3/d) in 2013 (completed as of 11 January 2013) and, in 2014, adding 450,000 barrels per day (72,000 m3/d) additional capacity via a "twin" long-haul pipeline. As well as for an 85 miles (137 km) lateral to the ECHO crude storage facility in southwest Houston and the Port Arthur/Beaumont refining complex.


Several competing pipelines between Cushing and the Houston region have been proposed over the years, no other directly competing pipeline has yet been built. Although there is one larger pipeline which also connects the midwest with the Gulf Coast, the Capline, but which bypasses Cushing. The 40 inches (1,000 mm) Capline has been pumping offshore oil north from Louisiana to Patoka, Illinois since the 1960s.[12]

However, planning for Phase 3 (a.k.a. the "Southern Leg", "Cushing MarketLink", or "Gulf Coast Pipeline Project") of the proposed Keystone XL show that it would run 435 miles (700 km) from Cushing to Nederland, Texas near Port Arthur, where it could tie into an existing 47 miles (76 km) pipeline to the Houston area.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PADD regions enable regional analysis of petroleum product supply and movements". U.S Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b Bazin, G.L; Ince, R. (1 Feb 1986). "The Seagas pipeline". Pipeline Gas Journal. 213 (2).
  3. ^ Wostmann, Alexander. "Duke acquires Arco Pipe Line". Alexander’s Gas & Oil Connections. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  4. ^ "FTC Challenges Deal Between Enterprise Products Partners and TEPPCO". U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Enbridge buys $1.15B Seaway oil pipeline stake". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  6. ^ Nichols, Bruce (19 May 2012). "Seaway pipeline sends oil to Texas in historic reversal". Reuters. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  7. ^ Philips, Matthew. "Unlocking the Crude Oil Bottleneck at Cushing". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Oil price jumps as Seaway pipeline launches". Houston Chronicle. Bloomberg. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  9. ^ "Blue Ridge pipeline spill affecting flow of oil nationally".
  10. ^ Molinski, Dan (January 31, 2017), Shutdown of Texas Pipeline Boosting Oil Prices, New York City: Wall Street Journal, retrieved February 1, 2017
  11. ^ "Seaway Pipeline Project". Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Going With The Flow". Barron's. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Gulf Coast Pipeline Project". TransCanada. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2012.

External links[edit]