$500M pipeline runs through St. John

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, July 8, 2015

LAPLACE — Construction of a $500 million pipeline system to link Motiva refineries in Norco and Convent will mean construction work and dollars in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Motiva Enterprises LLC announced plans earlier this year to integrate the company’s two Louisiana refineries — Norco and Convent — to create the Louisiana Refining System.

Motiva officials released a statement in which they said the system was a multi-phased project that would create significant operational opportunities, including increasing access to advantaged light oil, optimizing inter-plant intermediates and conversion units, increasing distillates yield and reducing operating costs.

The Maurepas Pipeline System is the first step in the Louisiana integration project and is comprised of three pipelines measuring approximately 35 miles in length that will be built, owned and operated by affiliates of SemGroup Corporation, a publicly traded midstream service company.

Officials said the pipeline route — which includes Ascension, St. Charles, St. James and St. John Parishes — was selected to minimize impacts to the land, environment and landowners.

Stephen P. LeBlanc of Southern Field Services LLC said St. John Parish residents “should not be impacted directly by construction other than the typical construction traffic” along Airline Highway.

Parish Communications Director Paige Falgoust said parish officials had a preliminary meeting with involved parties in October, where they were told work was estimated to begin in August and continue for approximately six to eight months.

“The good thing is all of St. John Parish is swamp construction and will be out of sight,” LeBlanc said. “I think all projects that are related to the chemical and refinery industry in and around this area and all the River Parishes in the state of Louisiana are beneficial to all of the residents, as well as the parish governments, from a tax revenue base.”

The Maurepas crude pipeline will connect the existing LOCAP terminal in St. James to the Norco refinery via a 34-mile pipeline, greatly improving access to advantaged domestic crude oil. Officials said the Maurepas 35-mile and the 34-mile intermediates pipelines will directly connect the Norco and Convent refineries supporting optimization of both plants’ conversion units while improving logistics efficiency, alleviating dock congestion and allowing additional product exports.

According to project specifics detailed on the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ website, the pipes will begin in Norco and run northerly through the Bonnet Carre Spillway under Interstate 10, then turn west and cross I-10 again through the Maurepas Wildlife Management Area. At the intersection of Airline Highway, the pipelines will split direction and two of the pipelines will continue west to Burnside, while one pipeline will continue southeast into St. James after crossing under the Mississippi River.

The three pipes — a 24-inch, a 16-inch and a 6-inch — will be set side by side for the first 24 miles of the project, and then the 24-inch pipeline will detour southeast for an additional 10 miles.

“The 16-inch and 6-inch pipeline will continue east for an additional 11 miles,” the report states.

“Collectively the three pipelines will go through the Bonnet Carre Spillway and the Maurepas Wildlife Management Area, cross under the I-10 and Airline Highway twice and cross under Louisiana 641, 3125, 18, 44 and 70. Additionally the pipelines will collectively cross under the Blind River, Mississippi River, Mississippi Bayou, Reserve Relief Canal, St. James Parish Canal and the St. James Parish Relief Canal.”

On a combined basis, Motiva officials said the Louisiana Refining System is expected to drive incremental annual benefits of $350 million.

“Through the implementation of these projects, we are creating a world-scale, integrated refining system that leverages the best aspects of our two Louisiana refineries in Convent and Norco,” Dan Romasko, President and CEO of Motiva, said.

“At 620,000 barrels per day, our Port Arthur refinery is already the largest refinery in North America and benefits from this scale and efficiency. With an integrated crude capacity over 500,000 barrels per day, our Louisiana Refining System will rank in the top five of North American refineries in capacity and deliver significant value to Motiva’s portfolio.”

Officials said the Maurepas project is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2016. More information on the project can be found at maurepaspipelinellc.com.