Calumet Considers Shipping Crude Oil Across Great Lakes

By KBJR News 1

January 28, 2013 Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 10:16 PM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) - The recent boost in the crude oil industry in the fields of North Dakota and Canada has Calumet already shipping crude out via rail.

But according to Superior Plant Manager Dave Podratz, nothing is more efficient and flexible when it comes to shipping oil via the Great Lakes.

From a seller's perspective, heading eastward with the oil surplus only makes sense.

"Crude oil is cheap here; it's more expensive as you go further east," said Podratz.

Along with that, Podratz says it's a method to which the Northland is already accustomed.

"[We're] trans–loading something onto ships, much like they do with other commodities in the port, and sending it to places that don't have access to crude by pipeline or rail," said Podratz.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority Public Relations Director Adele Yorde, says it's exciting to see any company with strong Northland connections to mushroom with an industry boom.

"It would be an additional commodity; it would open up some different kinds of freighters coming in and out of the port than what we see now, because we'd see tankers coming in," said Yorde.

...which means more jobs for the region, and would be in addition to what Calumet would also be bringing to the table.

"If I had to guess, it would be a half–dozen to ten people permanently. Obviously, the construction is going to require a lot more effort than that for a period of time," said Podratz.

But the number one goal for now, says Podratz, is to find a customer, because without any additional demand it wouldn't be the wisest business move to expand.

For Calumet, that means, among other things, offering the right price.

Podratz says that, if a customer is locked in within the next month or so, we could see the project fully–operational by 2015.

- Posted to the Web by Billy Wagness