The Laurel Pipeline, which has operated since 1957, runs east-to-west across the state of Pennsylvania, delivering gasoline, diesel and heating fuels from the Philadelphia refineries to central and western Pennsylvania. Laurel Pipe Line Co., a subsidiary of Buckeye Partners LP based in Houston, TX, owns and operates the pipeline. Over the past few years, Laurel Pipe Line Co has been petitioning to change the direction of the pipeline to run west-to-east. Local gasoline retailers such as GetGo and Sheetz have been fighting against Laurel Pipe Line Co. on the reversal since this first began last June. The local retailers fear that the pipeline reversal will reduce competition, eliminate jobs in the area and drive up pump prices. The retailers have won the initial fight as the Public Utility Commission (PUC) decided to block Laurel Pipe Line Co. from a full reversal.
Shale production is surging in the United States, however it’s surging into pipeline bottlenecks, creating mass delivery issues. Pipeline shortages are having a particularly frustrating effect in Oklahoma and in the Texas Permian Basin, forcing some companies to truck barrels up to 500 miles in order to get it to the gulf coast. These bottlenecks are expected to last until 2019, or even 2020, and combined with a tight labor market for drivers, there is a finite limit to the amount of crude that could be used to help stabilize the international market.
Today the EIA (Energy Information Administration) reported, that crude oil exports from the U.S. have nearly doubled since 2016. In 2017, the U.S. exported 1.1 million barrels of crude per day on average. How did this occur, the EIA states that, “U.S. crude oil exports were supported by increasing U.S. crude oil production and expanded infrastructure.”