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Viewpoint: DAPL will curb Bakken to Washington

09 Aug 2016 12:00 (+01:00 GMT)
Viewpoint: DAPL will curb Bakken to Washington

Houston, 9 August (Argus) — The startup of the Bakken pipeline system, which will ship more than 470,000 b/d of crude from North Dakota to the Texas Gulf coast, may force Washington state refiners to seek alternatives to nearly 100,000 b/d shipped by rail.

The Bakken system includes the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), which will run from North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil pipeline (ETCOP), which will stretch from Patoka to Nederland, Texas.

Several DAPL terminals currently serve BNSF rail loading facilities in North Dakota. The line will receive crude from Stanley, Ramberg (Beaver Lodge), Epping, Trenton, Watford City and Johnson's Corner in North Dakota.

Stanley is the site of an EOG unit train loading terminal, while Epping is the site of a Crestwood unit train loading terminal. Trenton is the site of a Savage Services unit train loading terminal.

Ramberg and Johnson's Corner are origin and destination points for Tesoro's High Plains pipeline, which provides connectivity to Tesoro's Bakken Area Storage Hub (BASH), Enbridge's North Dakota pipeline system, Crestwood's Colt rail loading facility and Global's Stampede rail loading facility.

West coast refiners took 118,000-192,000 b/d of crude from the midcontinent in the year ending in May 2016, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. The vast majority came from North Dakota.

California refiners received crude from North Dakota through November 2014, but shipments stopped after benchmark prices fell, the WTI-Brent spread narrowed and the arbitrage to ship Bakken by rail eroded.

Four Washington state refiners will be affected by the DAPL startup. BP has a 70,000 b/d rail unloading terminal at its 222,700 b/d refinery in Cherry Point; Tesoro has a 50,000 b/d terminal at its 120,000 b/d refinery in Anacortes; Phillips 66 has a 30,000 b/d terminal at its 100,000 b/d refinery in Ferndale; and US Oil has a 30,000 b/d terminal at its 43,500 b/d refinery in Tacoma.

Tesoro has said it is not concerned that Bakken will be in short supply, as the refiner expects shipments by rail to remain competitive as it projects rail costs decline by as much as 40pc.

But some Pacific northwest refiners may turn to Dubai-based Pacific basin crudes to replace Bakken.

Tesoro currently ships Russian ESPO Blend to Anacortes when it is competitively priced against west coast benchmark Alaskan North Slope (ANS).

BP also took Russian imports through the end of 2013, but it stopped after its rail facility came on line in December 2013. It also took Oman crude, which it had not received since August 2013.

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