UPDATE 2-Seaway oil pipe expansion at Cushing to finish next week
Jan 2 (Reuters) - A major pipeline expansion that aims to ease the bottleneck at Cushing, Oklahoma that has depressed U.S. crude prices should pump at full rates from the end of next week, the backers of the project said on Wednesday.
Enterprise Products Partners LP and Enbridge Inc said service on the Seaway pipeline that runs between Cushing and the U.S. Gulf Coast had been suspended to complete the work needed to expand the capacity of the 500-mile pipeline to 400,000 barrels per day.
"In order to complete the remaining pump station connections, transportation service has been suspended on the 500-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline and is expected to resume operations at full rates by the end of next week," the companies said in a joint statement.
Seaway can currently move 150,000 bpd of crude out of Cushing, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Insufficient pipeline capacity at Cushing has made it difficult for traders to ship burgeoning inland U.S. oil production to more profitable markets on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
As a result, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures have traded at a substantial discount to other grades of a comparable quality such as North Sea Brent crude.