By Kristen Hays
HOUSTON Feb 1 NuStar Energy LP will keep
exploring acquisitions for its storage and pipeline businesses
in 2013, Chief Executive Curt Anastasio told analysts on Friday.
"As we move into 2013, we're looking forward to
continuing to pursue promising internal growth opportunities
and exploring acquisitions for our fee-based storage
and pipeline segments," he said on the company's fourth-quarter
earnings conference call.
NuStar in 2012 focused on shedding margin-based businesses,
like its $115 million sale of a 14,021 barrels-per-day (bpd)
Texas refinery, to focus on fee-based operations centered on the
Eagle Ford shale play in the state.
That focus includes projects that have given the company
capacity to move about 300,000 barrels per day of Eagle Ford
crude and condensate to the Corpus Christi, Texas, market. Once
there, refiners can process it or ship it via barge or tanker to
other refineries, Anastasio said.
NuStar currently is moving about 150,000 bpd to that market.
That flow will increase to 200,000 bpd by mid-2013 and fill up
in a year, executives said.
However, the company is "getting a little cool" on a
proposal to reverse a pipeline to move crude from the Niobrara
shale play in Colorado to the Texas Panhandle, said Danny
Oliver, senior vice president of marketing and business
"The production just really hasn't caught up to what we
would need to justify reversing that pipe," Oliver said.
The company first announced an open season on the proposal
in mid-October and twice extended it, most recently to Feb. 15.
Oliver said there is shipper interest on a second part of
that plan to reverse a pipeline to move crude from the Texas
Panhandle east to Wichita Falls, where it could move to the U.S.
crude futures hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, or the refinery-rich
U.S. Gulf Coast.
Anastasio said the Colorado to Texas leg "will come into our
system later, most likely."