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New pipelines will relieve Cushing oil glut — eventually

New pipeline capacity is slowly relieving the glut in Cushing, but full relief is not expected until at least 2015. The oil backlog has caused local producers to receive as much as $20 per barrel less than the international price for their crude.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: February 15, 2013

The flood of new oil production throughout the middle of the country has created a backlog in Cushing while shippers wait in line to move the crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

A slew of new pipelines promises to relieve the glut, but most of the planned lines are still under construction.

Full relief is not expected until 2015.

The excess crude has suppressed prices for local producers, driving down the sales price as much as $20 a barrel as compared with international prices.

“It's a good problem to have for the country. We're finding lots of hydrocarbon,” said Jeff Hume, vice chairman of strategic growth initiatives at Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc. “There's going to be a few hiccups along the way. You get one piece of pipe built and just move the glut from one point to the next until the entire system is upgraded. When you get everything flowing, it should be really good for the country.”

Price comparisons

Until then, however, producers in much of Oklahoma, Texas and surrounding areas likely will continue to see their sales prices depressed relative to the rest of the world. West Texas International, priced at Cushing, closed at $97.31 per barrel Thursday. Brent crude, priced in London, closed at $118.

“What you're getting here is still a good price, but the world price is set higher,” Hume said.

Local producers have looked to the expanded Seaway Pipeline as one of the first large upgrades to move more oil from Cushing to the Houston area.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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