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Enough storage for everyone
by Christina Rowland, Progress staff
Nov 23, 2012 | 1305 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Contributed photo
A crane helps to assemble one of the storage tanks on the site.
Contributed photo A crane helps to assemble one of the storage tanks on the site.
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LIVE OAK COUNTY — If you’re looking for somewhere to store those hydrocarbons until they can be loaded into a pipeline and moved somewhere, look no further than Live Oak County.

The county currently has two facilities with large storage capabilities under construction.

The first facility being built by Copano Energy is part of the Double Eagle Pipeline Project.

The Double Eagle pipeline is a joint venture between Copano Energy and Magellan Midstream for 140 miles of 12-inch and 16-inch pipe which forms a T-shaped pipeline across Live Oak, McMullen, LaSalle, Bee and San Patricio counties.

The west end of the pipeline (top of the ‘T’ shape portion of the project) will start near Gardendale in LaSalle County and will travel east to Three Rivers in Live Oak County and then north east to the Karnes/DeWitt County line.

The bottom of the T-shape is a 50-mile line, south, that takes the contents to a Magellan Marine Storage Facility in Corpus Christi.

When complete, the pipeline will have the capacity to move 100,000 barrels per day.

Where the top of the ‘T’ intersects with the line going south is where the storage facility will be located near Three Rivers.

According to Rob Schaefer, commercial representative for Copano, the intersection is near the split of I-37 at U.S. Highway 281 on the east side of the road.

The facility will be able to store a total of 400,000 barrels of condensate liquids and crude oil in four separate tanks; two 50,000-barrel tanks and two 150,000-barrel tanks.

“The multiple tanks will enable batch operation,” Schaefer explained.

The batch operation allows each of the grades to be kept separate. So only one grade will be loaded into the southbound pipeline and transferred at a time.

When each batch is finished being transported, the next batch of the different kind can be loaded into the same pipeline and moved south.

Schaefer said there are two reasons for transferring the product south.

“There is a market,” he said. “There is also a marine facility where ocean going vessels and barges can be loaded.”

The operation will come online in two separate times.

“Two-thirds of the system including the storage facility will come online the first quarter of 2013,” Schaefer said.

He said the hopes are to have it in operation by the end of February 2013. The first portion of the project to come online also will include the eastern portion of the pipeline that goes from Karnes County back to Three Rivers.

The western leg, which is essentially the remainder of the project, is currently projected to come online in August 2013.

The anchor tenants whose product will actually be flowing through the pipeline are Statoil and Talisman Energy.

Copano has not leased the pipeline yet to its total barrels per day capacity, but “we are in advance discussions with several others that would take remainder of pipeline capacity.”

Schaefer said people can expect to see a reduced number of trucks on the road transporting Statoil and Talisman, because they have direct access to a “significant portion of their leases.”

Additional trucks will be removed from the road when the other portion of the project comes online as well.

There is also a four-bay unloading dock where trucks can come and off-load their product to be moved by pipeline to the ship channel in Corpus Christi. This will reduce trucks on the road between Three Rivers and Corpus Christi.

The second storage facility being built in Live Oak County is being built by NuStar Energy. The facility visible from I-37 is made up of three tanks, each with a holding capacity of 200,000 barrels.

According to Danny Oliver, NuStar’s senior vice president of marketing and business development, the facility has multiple gathering lines that come into it from Frio and La Salle Counties. The fluid from those lines is segregated out into the three different tanks depending on the grade and then is batch processed to Corpus Christi using the same process that the Copano facility does.

The Live Oak Facility “is nearing completion,” Oliver said. “By the end of November it should be complete.”

Rather than lease space in the storage tanks to various companies NuStar charges companies a shipping tariff to move the hydrocarbon from where it is loaded in the line to Corpus Christi.

Oliver said the Live Oak County location was chosen for the storage facility because NuStar already had a 16 inch line in place that went from Live Oak County to Corpus Christi.

The south-bound transport line is currently moving 70 barrels per day but is capable of moving 200,000 barrels when operating at full capacity.

In the future, Nustar has plans to build another line from Karnes County, in the east, to the Live Oak storage facility. That line will help get trucks off the road that are currently transporting NuStar product daily to Corpus Christi.

Nustar also has plans to build a truck unloading station at the Live Oak facility.

Both projects are slated for 2013 construction and completion.
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