Seaway Oil Pipeline System

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

Seaway Crude Pipeline System (SCPS) is an oil pipeline system in the United States. It includes both the Seaway Pipeline and the identical Seaway Twin Pipeline.[1]


The pipeline system runs from Enbridge’s Cushing Terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma to Jones Creek, Texas, and then east to the ECHO Terminal near Houston and terminating in Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas.[1][2]

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Project Details, as of June 2020

  • Operator: Enterprise Products Partners (50%), Enbridge (50%)[1]
  • Capacity: 400,000 barrels per day[2]
  • Length: 846 kilometers (526 miles)[2]
  • Diameter: 30-inches[1]
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 1976


The original pipeline included a 500-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline between Cushing, Oklahoma and the Freeport, Texas area, and a terminal and distribution network in Texas City, Texas, serving refineries in the Greater Houston area.[1]

Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC (Seaway) is a 50/50 joint venture between Enterprise Products Partners L.P., the operator, and Enbridge Inc., which purchased its ownership interest from ConocoPhillips on November 16, 2011.[1]

Original Project Details

  • Operator: Enterprise Products Partners (50%), Enbridge (50%)[1]
  • Capacity: 150,000 barrels per day[2]
  • Length: 805 kilometers (500 miles)[2]
  • Diameter: 30-inches[1]
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 1976

Ownership History

The Seaway Pipeline was originally built by a consortium of oil industry firms (Phillips Petroleum Company, among others) 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, when it became inactive at times as the economics of crude transfer changed.[3]

In 1984, the other consortium members were bought out by Phillips. Seeking to capitalize on the line'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").[3]

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 primary operator.[4]

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.[5]

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 (joint venture between Enterprise Products and Enbridge) became the pipeline's operator.[6]

Oil spill

On January 30, 2017, a road crew punctured the Seaway pipeline. Two days later, it was unclear how much oil had spilled, although 4,000 barrels of oil (168,000 gallons) had been recovered, according to Texas Railroad Commission. After the incident, supply concerns reportedly helped push "oil prices 2% higher in early trading to nearly $54 a barrel."[7][8]

Expansion Projects

Expansion Project 2

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the expansion project resulted in a capacity increase from 850,000 barrels per day to 950,000 barrels per day. It did not involve any additional miles of pipeline.[9]

Expansion Project 2 Details

  • Owner: Enbridge and Enterprise Product Partners[9]
  • Capacity: 100,000 barrels per day[9]
  • Length: 0.0 new miles of pipeline[9]
  • Status: Operating[9]
  • Start Year: 2019[9]

Seaway Twin Oil Pipeline Project

The project is also called the Seaway 2 Pipeline. Together with the original pipeline, the two pipelines comprise the Seaway Pipeline System.[10]

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the project involved the construction of a parallel twin pipeline, mostly along the same route as the existing Seaway Pipeline.[9]

In 2018, drag reducing agents were added to the Twin pipeline to boost capacity.[10]

Seaway Twin Oil Pipeline Project Details

  • Owner: Enbridge and Enterprise Product Partners[9]
  • Capacity: 450,000 barrels per day[9]
  • Length: 512 miles / 824 kilometers[9]
  • Diameter: 30-inches[9]
  • Status: Operating[9]
  • Start Year: 2014[9]

Seaway Reversal Pipeline Project

In late May 2012, the Seaway's flow was reversed, and crude began arriving at Freeport on 6 June 2012.[11][12] Following the reversal, the pipeline's capacity increased from 150,000 to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd).[13] The Seaway reversal and expansion projects have given shippers access to Enterprise's ECHO crude oil storage facility in southeast Houston and the Port Arthur/Beaumont refining complex.[1]

Seaway Reversal Pipeline Project Details

  • Owner: Enbridge and Enterprise Product Partners[9]
  • Capacity: 250,000 barrels per day[12]
  • Length: 0.0 new miles of pipeline[12]
  • Status: Operating[12]
  • Start Year: 2012[12]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Seaway Oil Pipeline, Seaway Pipeline website, accessed September 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Enbridge’s Energy Infrastructure Assets Enbrdige, July 22, 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bazin, G.L; Ince, R. (1 Feb 1986). "The Seagas pipeline". Pipeline Gas Journal. 213 (2). |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. Wostmann, Alexander. "Duke acquires Arco Pipe Line". Alexander’s Gas & Oil Connections. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  5. "FTC Challenges Deal Between Enterprise Products Partners and TEPPCO". U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  6. "Enbridge buys $1.15B Seaway oil pipeline stake". The Canadian Press. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  7. "Shutdown of Texas Pipeline Boosting Oil Prices," Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2017
  8. "Blue Ridge pipeline spill affecting flow of oil nationally," KXII News 12, Jan 30, 2017
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 Petroleum & Other Liquids, Movements, Energy Information Administration, June 4, 2020
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ongoing Projects, Pipeline News, accessed October 2018
  11. "Seaway pipeline sends oil to Texas in historic reversal". Reuters. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Philips, Matthew. "Unlocking the Crude Oil Bottleneck at Cushing". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  13. "Oil price jumps as Seaway pipeline launches". Houston Chronicle. Bloomberg. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013.

Related articles

External resources

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