Superior oil terminal project put on holdPlans for a $20 million oil terminal in Superior are on hold, and the project looks dead in the water.
By: Mike Simonson/Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Plans for a $20 million oil terminal in Superior are on hold, and the project looks dead in the water.
That means oil tankers won’t be sailing from western Lake Superior to the east coast.
The oil terminal would have shipped crude from the ever-expanding Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, where production has tripled over the past five years and is expected to double in the next six years. It’s a challenge for transportation to keep up with production.
Even so, Superior Calumet Refinery manager Kollin Schade says the size and cost of an oil terminal means they need a refinery on the east coast as a partner.
“We’ve had interest from various partners, but we’ve not had anybody who would step forward and do a long-term commitment to make the project feasible from our side,” he says.
Duluth Port Director Adolph Ojard says he’s not surprised.
“It was one of those things that was a trial balloon being floated out there,” Ojard said. “Economically, I don’t know if it really makes sense to move crude oil on the Great Lakes given the current conditions. It’s more efficient to move it by rail and pipeline.”
But Schade says they’re still moving ahead with getting permits from the Department of Natural Resources.
“That could potentially impact the project one way or another,” he said. “It’s nice to see that there has been some progress and that there are some conditional permits put together out there in case the project were a go.”
Calumet had hoped to open the Superior oil terminal in two years.