NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A company that owns the longest refined petroleum products pipeline system in the country is hoping to expand that line to Little Rock. Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. announced on Monday that it had launched an open season to gauge interest in a potential pipeline to connect its Ft. Smith distribution terminal to its terminal in North Little Rock.
Bruce Heine, director of government and media affairs for Magellan Midstream, said the interest in a new pipeline comes after a diesel service once serving the Little Rock area had left the region. Heine said there's a need for the company's services and Magellan was up to answering the call.
"We're in the process now of evaluation the market interest in Magellan constructing a new line from Ft. Smith over to Little Rock," said Heine.
The potential project would construct an approximately 160-mile pipeline capable of transporting up to 75,000 barrels of gasoline, diesel & jet fuel everyday. Heine said currently that fuel is trucked into North Little Rock, which he mentions is the most dangerous method of fuel transit.
If the potential line were to track its way north of the Arkansas River on its way from Ft. Smith to North Little Rock, it could come extremely close to Mayflower - the community ravaged by the busted Exxon pipeline back in March. Heine said Magellan values safety.
"I can't speak for Exxon," said Heine, "but I can speak for Magellan and we're a common-carrier pipeline company that spends a tremendous amount of our resources on keeping our pipelines safe throughout all of the communities we operate in."
The move would provide the Little Rock market with access to refined products from Mid-Continent and Gulf Coast refineries via Magellan's extensive refined petroleum products pipeline system. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, despite pursuing a lawsuit against Exxon surrounding the Mayflower pipeline incident, said in a statement that this pipeline is critical to the area:
"I met with the Magellan representatives recently and am excited about the prospect of a safe and reliable source of diesel and jet fuel returning to Little Rock. I believe that a new supply is critical to Clinton National Airport and the Little Rock Air Force Base. I want to know more about their commitment to safety and environmental standards, but I was very encouraged by our first meeting."
Construction of the pipeline is dependent on customer interest, those of which must submit binding commitments to the company by October 16. The potential pipeline is also subject to permit and regulatory approval. If approved, the company said via a press release that the pipeline could be operational by the third quarter of 2015. Pipeline construction could foster nearly 750 new jobs in Arkansas.
The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company is a publicly traded partnership, primarily transporting and storing refined petroleum products and crude oil.