Buckeye Partners is moving forward with plans to provide bi-directional service along the Altoona-to-Pittsburgh, Pa., section of the refined fuels pipeline system operated by its operating subsidiary, Laurel Pipe Line Company.
Once finished, all of Laurel’s existing Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission tariffs will remain in place while establishing new FERC tariffs from Midwest origins to Altoona, Pa., destinations. The company’s decision comes in light of a recent ruling by PUC its administrative law judge that the commission reject Laurel’s application to abandon east-to-west transportation and reverse the direction of service in that section of the pipeline from west to east.
“Buckeye fully respects and remains committed to the ongoing PUC process,” said Robert A. Malecky, Buckeye president, Domestic Pipelines & Terminals. “We see the addition of eastbound service to the current westbound capability as providing an operational solution for all our customers. This approach provides shippers and suppliers with the choice to supply from either the west or east, while still increasing Pennsylvania consumers’ access to more affordable, lower cost North American-manufactured fuels, and we think it does so in a way that fully addresses the points raised in the recent PUC proceedings.”
Separately, Buckeye also announced an $80 million expansion of the Chicago Complex, its key logistics hub in the Midwest. The project, backed by a long-term agreement with BP Products North America, will further expand storage, component blending, throughput capacity and service capabilities in the Chicago Complex, and includes the construction of approximately 600,000 barrels of additional product blending tankage as well as the build-out of an existing truck rack.
“This project will further enhance the liquidity of the Chicago Complex and continues to solidify our position as the premier storage and trading facility in the Chicago area, Malecky said. “We believe the Midwestern refining industry is materially cost-advantaged to certain of its competitors in other parts of the country and poised for continued growth and investment.”