Houston, 5 October (Argus) — Midstream firm Global Partners will buy for $80mn a 60pc membership interest in Basin Transload, which operates two crude rail loading facilities in North Dakota with 160,000 b/d of capacity to ship to the US east, west and Gulf coasts.
Global Partners rails crude from the Bakken formation and other midcontinent refined products to its recently expanded terminal in Albany, New York, which serves all the east coast's import-reliant refiners. Those facilities have shown a strong appetite for the Bakken's light, sweet crude, which still sells at a discount relative to waterborne imported crudes, even after the cost to rail oil out of the midcontinent gets factored in.
The Albany terminal was expanded to 160,000 b/d of offloading capacity last summer, nearly tripling its previous capacity of 55,000 b/d. The rail facility is capable of offloading two 120-car unit trains in a 24-hour period.
The two sites Global is buying a majority stake in are about 195 miles apart in Columbus and Beulah, North Dakota. The Columbus site is along the Canadian Pacific Railway and provides single haul service to Global's Albany terminal. Global Partners owns and operates a 100,000 bl storage tank and offloading rack at Columbus and has been taking crude shipments from that site.
Basin Transloading's Beulah terminal moves Williston basin crude on BNSF Railroad in direct long-haul service to the west and Gulf coasts.
The company estimates rail shipments to the east coast average four to five days, with some completed as quickly as two-and-a-half days. From there, barge movements from Albany to east coast refineries take about 24-36 hours.
"The acquisition of a majority stake in Basin Transload significantly broadens and strengthens our energy infrastructure in the Bakken region," Global chief executive Eric Slifka said. "The strategic locations of the Basin Transload facilities, as well as their proximity and ease of access to key suppliers, create flexibility and logistical advantages for Global.”
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