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12 21, 2011 by Associated Press
Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. said Tuesday that it has closed on its 50 percent stake in a pipeline that will pump oil to Gulf Coast refineries, helping relieve a bottleneck in Midwestern oil supplies.
Enbridge paid $1.15 billion to Houston energy giant ConocoPhillips. It's partnering with Houston pipeline company Enterprise Products Partners LP on the project, called the Seaway Crude Pipeline System.
Enbridge has said it will reverse the direction of crude oil flows on the Seaway pipeline to enable it to transport oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast. That will help unclog a bottleneck of oil in the Midwest.
The U.S. government expects that the pipeline will help lift the average price of oil to $98 per barrel next year, from a previous forecast of $91 per barrel in November.
Enbridge announced its plans to buy the pipeline stake in November. It said then that the new pipeline could be online with an initial capacity of 150,000 barrels per day by the second quarter of 2012. That capacity would be expanded to 400,000 to 500,000 barrels per day in 2013.
The company said on Tuesday that it will solicit capacity commitments from shippers on Jan. 4 through Feb. 10.
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