Investing, and expanding, in the Land of Lincoln

Enbridge's Great Lakes to Gulf Coast series (Part 7)

Joe Steichen calls ’em as he sees ’em. As a delinquency officer with an operating engineers’ union, going hat in hand to collect funds owed, Steichen laughingly refers to himself as “a professional beggar.”

And as a board member in Livingston County, Illinois, Steichen can recognize a business opportunity when it comes knocking.

“Right now, our county board is getting ready to extend an invitation to our newly elected Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. We want him to visit Livingston County – so we can showcase Enbridge,” says Steichen. “Because here’s a company that’s focusing its investment, and its expansion, in Illinois, when other companies can’t get out of Illinois fast enough, looking for tax breaks elsewhere.

“We’re talking billions – new tanks, new manifolds, new pumping stations. It’s an atypical situation. You just don’t hear that. It hasn’t happened in a long time.”

Flanagan Terminal, in Livingston County about 100 miles southwest of Chicago, 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.

Together, the recent opening of Enbridge’s $2.8-billion Flanagan South pipeline and the 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.

As Enbridge continues to build out badly needed pipeline infrastructure across North America, Flanagan Terminal – which now has about 30 employees, 13 tanks, and a nominal shell capacity of 2.2-million barrels – will play an increasingly pivotal role in our system.

Flanagan Terminal is at the center of numerous future Enbridge projects, including 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.

All told, Enbridge is investing more than $2-billion in Illinois, between 2013 and 2015, as a result of these multiple major projects intersecting at Flanagan Terminal. Collectively, the projects will create more than 3,000 construction jobs in the state, and an annual $4-million in annual taxes paid to Illinois after those projects’ first year in service.

Steichen has been a Livingston County board member since 2010. He’s keenly interested in the economic stimulus that Enbridge is bringing to his county, but he’s even more energized by Enbridge’s education-focused community investment projects in the region – including sponsorship of youth camps, stewardship initiatives, and college scholarships.

“Stephanie Guerrero, your Flanagan Terminal supervisor, came out and talked to our upperclassmen last year at Dwight High School, and gave a presentation on career possibilities,” he says. “Our future is our kids. Enbridge is helping to educate our kids . . . and that’s the sort of stuff I live for.”