Here comes Keystone XXL

Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD) and Enbridge on Thursday announced a proposed new 800 kilometre (500 mile) pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma – the pricing point for US crude – to the Gulf of Mexico. The Wrangler Pipeline would have the capacity to carry up to 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Although the glut at Cushing has eased this year it is the main factor behind US crude trading near a record discount of $25/barrel to the international Brent benchmark. Canadian heavy oil from the oil sands – all of which goes to the US – sells for $10+ less than US crude, meaning oil sands developers have to deal with an effective oil price of $60-$70 a barrel. Unlike the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, Wrangler does not cross international boundaries and won’t have to be approved by US president Barack Obama.

MarketWatch reports “In anticipation of future increases in crude oil volumes delivered to the Cushing area, the joint venture partners will design the pipeline to be easily expanded,” the companies said.

Crude regained some of the heavy losses of Wednesday when it dropped 3.8% amid pressure from an unexpected 1.9 million-barrel rise in oil supplies for last week. By mid-day Thursday crude for November delivery was back above $80/barrel at $82.66. The spread between US crude benchmark in the form of West Texas Intermediate and North Sea Brent was $22.67/bbl.

NYSE and TSE-listed Enbridge (TSE:ENB) is also behind the Northern Gateway project that will stretch for more than 1,100km at a cost of $5.5 billion from the oil sands to the northern British Columbia coast from where tankers will carry the crude to Asian markets. China firms Sinopec and MEG Energy have invested in the pipeline. Regulatory hearings for Northern Gateway are scheduled to start in January.

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