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Refiner floats idea of shipping crude oil across Great Lakes

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Indianapolis-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P., the owner of a refinery in Superior, Wis., is considering whether to build and operate a loading dock in or near the Twin Ports that would allow it to move crude oil from Canada and western North Dakota on the Great Lakes, Duluth News Tribune.

“Calumet is currently assessing the viability of the project and gauging interest in the marketplace,” Todd Borgmann, vice president of business development at Calumet, said in a news release last week. “We would expect to have this project fully operational during the shipping season of 2015 and are currently in talks with potential customers and partners.”

"This exciting project would further diversify Calumet's refining, specialty, and packaged products businesses by adding an additional revenue source," Jennifer Straumins, president and chief operating officer of Calumet stated. "The project would also provide connected refineries with another form of access to heavy Canadian and light Bakken crude oil."

The newspaper notes there are concerns from environmental groups who are not thrilled with the idea.

No crude oil is currently transported by water in the Great Lakes region, according to Marine Delivers. However, the industry collaboration says a variety of petroleum products, which include gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and asphalt, are transported by Great Lakes vessels.

Alberta-based Enbridge Energy Partners is also moving forward with a proposed $2.5 billion pipeline expansion, called the Sandpiper Project, that will run from western North Dakota to its Superior facility.

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