Brian Maffley, The Salt Lake Tribune
Oil refiner Tesoro is proposing a 135-mile insulated pipeline connecting the Uinta Basin with Salt Lake City-area refineries in the hopes of reducing truck traffic by up to 250 trips a day.
It would also ease a transportation bottleneck that state officials say is holding back development on Utah’s busiest oil patch and costing the state’s economy billions. But environmentalists fear adding such infrastructure further commits Utah to a dirty energy future.
Because of its high paraffin content, Uinta’s waxy crude must remain warm in transit, reducing producers’ options for where they send their oil and reducing the price it fetches.
Last week, the U.S. Forest Service published the refiner’s notice of intent to seek authorization for the Uinta Express Pipeline, triggering a federal environmental review expected to take at least a year.
Still, Tesoro hopes to have the 12-inch underground line running by early 2017, according to Michael Gebhardt, vice president of business development for the Texas-based company that operates refineries in North Salt Lake and five other U.S. cities.