Flanagan Terminal becoming a lynchpin of Enbridge's network

Enbridge's Great Lakes to Gulf Coast series (Part 6)

How to describe Enbridge’s Flanagan Terminal on the crude oil landscape? Well, in sports parlance, Flanagan has gone from bench player to clutch performer.

Flanagan Terminal, in north-central Illinois, is the starting point of our recently opened Flanagan South pipeline, a 36-inch line that runs 593 miles to Cushing, Okla., and now has the capacity to deliver 585,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

With 13 tanks and 2.2-million barrels of nominal shell capacity, the Chicago-area Flanagan Terminal has become a critically important transportation hub on the Enbridge crude oil and liquids network, which is the longest and most sophisticated in the world. Based outside Pontiac, Ill., in Livingston County, Flanagan Terminal has become a lynchpin of all three of our North American market access initiatives – Western Gulf Coast Access, Light Oil Market Access, and Eastern Access – as we focus on linking supply with demand, and opening up new refining markets for 1.7-million barrels a day of crude by 2017.

“As those increased volumes come to Flanagan Terminal, we’ll need the facilities in place to deal with them and move them on their way to market,” says Dave Hodgins, Enbridge’s senior manager for the Flanagan area. “We’re looking at continued growth and expansion at Flanagan Terminal. You name it – more tanks, more manifolds, more meters, more horsepower, and more people.”

Together, the opening of Flanagan South and the recent twinning of the Seaway Pipeline represent North America’s first large-volume, full-path solution for safely and reliably delivering Western Canadian crude to the heavy-oil-hungry refining market in the Houston area.

In no particular order, future Enbridge projects involving Flanagan Terminal include the 167-mile Southern Access Extension to Patoka, Ill.; the 76-mile twinning of Spearhead North (Line 62) to Griffith, Ind.; and various aspects of the Lakehead System Mainline Expansion.

“Prior to the construction of Southern Access (Line 61), Flanagan wasn’t much more than a blip on our radar. It just wasn’t a place we flowed oil into, or out of, in a significant way,” says Brad Shamla, the vice president of U.S. operations for Enbridge’s Liquids Pipelines division.

“But with the infrastructure going into place now, and the expansion and conversion of Midwest refineries that are now able to run a full slate of crudes, it’s becoming a critically important facility for us.”