Proposed oil terminal on Lake Superior put on hold

Proposed oil terminal on Lake Superior put on hold

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SUPERIOR, Wis. — A proposed crude oil shipping terminal on Lake Superior has been put on hold, meaning oil tankers won’t be sailing from the Twin Ports to the East Coast for now.

The terminal would have shipped crude from the Bakken fields in North Dakota, where production is rising so quickly that traditional means of transporting the oil to refineries are having trouble keeping up.

Superior Calumet Refinery manager Kollin Schade said the size and cost of an oil terminal means his company needs 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 said.

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said he’s not surprised.

“It was one of those things that was a trial balloon being floated out there,” he 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.”

Calumet had hoped to open the Superior oil terminal in two years. Schade said his company is still moving ahead with getting permits from the Department of Natural Resources just in case.

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