Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD) announced that the initial phase of its Enterprise Crude Houston (“ECHO”) storage terminal in Harris County, Texas is complete and the facility is now receiving deliveries of crude oil. The first three tanks total 750,000 barrels of storage capacity. The next phase of the ECHO terminal expansion includes the addition of up to 900,000 barrels of storage capacity, which could be in service as early as the first quarter of 2014. Enterprise estimates that the ECHO facility could have up to 6 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity when completed.
“Enterprise’s ECHO facility is at the center of a historic and fundamental shift in our nation’s crude oil infrastructure by linking growing supplies of North American crude and condensate production with the U.S. Gulf Coast refining complex,” said A.J. “Jim” Teague, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Enterprise’s general partner. “We are very pleased to announce the completion of the initial phase of ECHO. Our investments in ECHO, the recently completed Eagle Ford Shale pipeline and the Seaway Crude Oil pipeline will benefit both producers and consumers of crude oil while supporting energy security for our nation. Ultimately, ECHO will provide pipeline and waterborne access to every major Gulf Coast refinery, representing more than 7 million barrels per day of capacity.”
Recognizing the flexibility and market liquidity potential of ECHO and its significance as a delivery hub for growing sources of North American crude oil, ECHO is under consideration by the New York Mercantile Exchange (“NYMEX”) as a regional pricing point for the U.S. Gulf Coast crude market. Through the Seaway crude oil pipeline, ECHO will be connected to the storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, the NYMEX benchmark pricing point for its West Texas Intermediate crude oil contract.