Diamond Oil Pipeline

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.

Diamond Oil Pipeline is an operating oil pipeline in the USA[1]


The pipeline originates in Cushing, Oklahoma, traverses Oklahoma and Arkansas, and terminates in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.[2] Two expansion projects were proposed but as of 2021 are cancelled.

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Project Details

  • Operator: Plains All American Pipeline[3]
  • Owner: Diamond Pipeline LLC[4]
  • Parent company: Plains All American Pipeline; Valero Energy[4]
  • Capacity: 200,000 barrels per day[5]
  • Length: 440 miles[5]
  • Diameter: 20 inches[6]
  • Status: Operating[4]
  • Start year: 2017[4]
  • Cost: US$900 million[5]


In August 2014, Plains All American confirmed its plan to build the Diamond Pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to Memphis, Tennessee.[7] The pipeline will bring shale oil directly from Cushing to Valero's Memphis sweet crude refinery, which can process 7.5 million gallons per day to produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, eliminating the step of transporting the oil first through Louisiana.[7][5]

The project will cost an estimated $900 million.[5]

Construction on the pipeline began in 2016, and it became operational in 2017.[4]

Environmental Issues

The Diamond Oil Pipeline transport crude oil across 14 counties, five rivers, and eleven watersheds,[8] with five waterway crossings approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, 443 water crossings approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, and 48 water crossings that either did not need or permit or were outside of the Corps' jurisdiction.[7] Arkansas Department of Health Engineering Section Director Jeff Stone told the Corps that the planned pipeline route could impact the drinking water sources of nearly 250,000 Arkansans.[9]

The pipeline also includes a section of 20-inch-diameter pipeline that traverses under the Mississippi River from West Memphis to Presidents Island, a peninsula located along the Mississippi River in Memphis. According to The Commercial Appeal, the section does not include a layer of clay protecting the city's drinking water source.[7]

Citizen Opposition

January protest of Diamond Pipeline in Memphis, TN

Environmental organization Arkansas Rising has led numerous protests of the Diamond Pipeline, including acts of civil disobedience.[10]

In January 2017, almost 50 police and fire vehicles responded to a protest of the pipeline located off of Interstate 55 south of downtown Memphis, Tennessee, led by environmental groups such as Arkansas Rising.[7] Twelve people out of approximately 40 protesters were arrested.[11]

On March 20, 2017, water protector Tyler Hamilton locked down pipeline equipment at a construction site in Pope County, Arkansas, disrupting construction for several hours.[10]

Clarksville, Arkansas city officials expressed concern over the pipeline's impact on drinking water supplies and frustration at the process, in which they only learned of the pipeline's planned route from media stories rather than the project developers.[8] The pipeline's planned route took it within one-half of a mile of the city's intake valve that supplied drinking water for roughly 30,000 people, which the pipeline's lead engineer Stephen Lee said was overlooked because it was not on the maps used to plan the route.[12]

At Big Piney Creek in Dover, Arkansas, one family was hit with a three-month temporary condemnation after refusing to allow the pipeline developers to survey their private property.[8]

Expansion projects

Byhalia Connection Project

The extension pipeline, also called the Byhalia Connection, will stretch nearly 49-miles from Memphis, Tennessee, to Byhalia, Mississippi, where it will connect with the Capline Oil Pipeline.[13]

  • Operator:
  • Owner: Byhalia Pipeline LLC[14]
  • Parent company: Plains All American Pipeline; Valero Energy[13][14]
  • Capacity:
  • Length: 49 miles[13]
  • Diameter: 24 inches[13]
  • Status: Cancelled[13][14]
  • Start year: 2022[13]

In July 2021, the developers cancelled the project citing low US crude oil demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.[14] Construction was originally slated to begin in 2021, and take 9 months.[14]

Expansion Project

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the expansion will increase transport capacity from 200,000 b/d to 420,000 b/d. There was also indication that the pipeline would be extended from Memphis, Tennessee to Collierville, Tennessee, where it would connect with the Capline Oil Pipeline.[13] This expansion was being developed at the same time as the Capline Oil Pipeline reversal. Developers were targeting a light-service date of mid-2021 and a heavy-service date of early 2022.[6]

Despite mention of an extension from Memphis to Collierville, no estimated length was readily available, and this was therefore considered a capacity expansion only.

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  • Operator:
  • Owner: Plains All American Pipeline; Valero Energy[6]
  • Parent company: Plains All American Pipeline; Valero Energy[6]
  • Capacity: 220,000 barrels per day[6]
  • Length: 0 new kilometers*
  • Diameter: 20 inches[6]
  • Status: Cancelled[6]
  • Start year: 2022[6]

* Note this is presumed to be a capacity expansion only, implying 0 new kilometers built, as evidence to the contrary could not be found despite some implication that this expansion would be the same length (440 miles) as the main trunkline, according to EIA data.[6] This would not be correct, however, given the distance between Memphis and Collierville, Tennessee, USA is less than 30 miles.

The expansion was delayed, initially scheduled for a 2021 startup and later 2022.[15] The EIA cites this pipeline as cancelled as of late 2021, and this is presumed to have occurred simultaneously with the cancellation of the Byhalia project above.[6]

Articles and resources


  1. Diamond Oil Pipeline, A Barrel Full, accessed September 2017
  2. Sergio Chapa, Plains All American enters joint venture to expand Red River Pipeline, Houston Chronicle, May 29, 2019
  3. "Diamond Project oil pipeline". Offshore Technology. Retrieved 2022-03-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "Diamond Pipeline". Hydrocarbons Technology. Retrieved 2022-03-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Diamond Pipeline: Project Overview, Diamond Pipeline LLC, accessed October 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 Petroleum & Other Liquids, Movements, Energy Information Administration, June 4, 2020
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 5 things to know about the Diamond Pipeline protest, The Commercial Appeal, 17 Jan. 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Diamond Pipeline: An In-Depth Look, KATV, 17 Feb. 2017
  9. The Diamond Pipeline: Cutting Through Watersheds, Aquifers, Arkansas Times, 26 Nov. 2015
  10. 10.0 10.1 Arkansas Rising Shuts Down Diamond Pipeline Construction, Earth First!, 24 Mar. 2017
  11. 12 arrested at anti-pipeline protest at Valero Memphis Refinery, WREG, 16 Jan. 2017
  12. The Other Problem with the Diamond Pipeline, HuffPost, 15 Feb. 2017
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 U.S. liquids pipeline projects, Energy Information Administration, June 7, 2021
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "Company Cancels Byhalia Connection Pipeline Project". pgjonline.com. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  15. Gordon, Meghan; Moessner, Chris van (2022-03-21). "Tracking upstream emissions with US oil supply on the rise". www.spglobal.com. Retrieved 2022-03-24.

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External resources

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