* New infrastructure to provide access to more cheap inland US crude
* Exxon’s Baton Rouge refinery and others could tap into it
* Pipeline, tankage at end 2014, rail offloading 2Q 2014
By Kristen Hays
HOUSTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Genesis Energy LP will build a new crude oil pipeline, a rail offloading facility and expand tankage alongside the Mississippi River to enable more access to cheap inland crudes for Exxon Mobil Corp’s Louisiana refinery, the company said on Monday.
The Houston-based company said it would spend $125 million to nearly double capacity at its Port Hudson, Louisiana, terminal to 416,000 barrels and build a new 18-mile (29 km) pipeline to move crude south from there to a tank farm at the 502,500 barrels-per-day (bpd) Baton Rouge refinery.
Genesis said it would build the rail offloading facility at another terminal between Port Hudson and Baton Rouge where the pipeline will pass through.
Refiners and pipeline companies have launched many similar projects to gain access to inland U.S. crude so plentiful that it trades at a sharp discount to other global crudes.
Genesis said the pipeline will have an ultimate capacity of 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) and could deliver crude bound for refineries other than Exxon.
Genesis chief financial officer Bob Deere said the Baton Rouge plant’s Anchorage tank farm has connections to other refineries, but he declined to say which plants also would receive crude from the new infrastructure.
Deere also declined to specify where in the United States the crude would come from, except to say it “would have the potential of coming from anywhere where it could be transported by barge or train.”
That could include crude moved south by barge from North Dakota’s Bakken shale play or crude moved by rail and barge from Ohio’s Utica play.
The Port Hudson tankage and new pipeline are expected to be built by the end of 2013 followed by the offloading facility completion in the second quarter of 2014, Genesis said.
Exxon’s Baton Rouge refinery is the nation’s third-largest.