Protecting The State's Diverse Environment

Texas’s natural beauty and resources are a source of great pride for its citizens, sportsmen, ranchers and farmers. So, from the early stages of the planning process we’ve been working with key agencies to ensure the Gray Oak pipeline project complies with all applicable regulations and laws, including the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act and others. To make this happen we are working closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Railroad Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Historical Commission Division of Historic Preservation and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The planned route was carefully chosen to meet several criteria to minimize the impact on the environment, wildlife and cultural resources, including the use of existing pipeline routes and the avoidance of sensitive areas. To reduce potential environmental impacts, the project will also follow existing pipeline corridors to the maximum extent possible. Additionally, qualified biologists conducted surveys to identify any potential suitable habitats of threatened or endangered species so that these areas can be avoided, or impacts minimized. Some of these measures include avoiding habitat through the Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) method, re-routes, and narrowed construction corridors.

Construction methods will be evaluated and selected based on site conditions to further reduce potential impacts. Construction and operation of the project will be in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local regulatory requirements and guidelines. After construction, it is our responsibility to restore the land we disturbed. This includes restoring the land’s original contours and native vegetation.

Safety and environmental protection are built into every project we build. For Gray Oak, we are taking several steps to protect the environment.

  • Pipeline corridors: The pipeline follows existing pipeline corridors to the maximum extent possible to minimize environmental impacts. The proposed route was carefully selected to minimize disruption to natural resources by narrowing construction corridors where practicable, along with avoidance measures.
  • Water crossings: The Project seeks to avoid and minimize impacts to Waters of the United States (WOUS) to the greatest extent practicable. Best Management Practices (BMPs) for pipeline installation and facilities construction will be utilized to minimize impacts. Due to the utilization of BMPs and USACE-approved construction methods, no WOUS will be permanently impacted as a result of construction.
  • Design: The pipeline is being designed to build-in safety, from the steel used to the technology employed to monitor its operation.
  • Construction: Construction methods will be evaluated and selected based on site conditions to further reduce potential impacts. Where possible, crews will access the construction right-of-way via existing roads.
  • We will use advanced construction techniques to further increase safety, including burying pipelines deep underneath water crossings and sensitive areas using a technique called horizontal directional drilling.
  • The pipe will be installed with a highly resilient epoxy coating.
  • Restoration: Land impacted will be carefully restored to its pre-construction condition. Restoration and revegetation of the ROW, valve station site, or other disturbed areas incorporates permanent erosion and sediment control measures until stabilization occurs, as defined in the Clean Water Act. Debris will be removed, and soil graded for reseeding. Revegetation requirements will be determined in consultation with environmental consultants, natural resource conservation services and landowners. Fences will be repaired to preconstruction conditions.

    To ensure pipeline integrity, computerized internal inspection tools called “smart pigs” are used to detect potential corrosion, dents or cracks from inside the pipe.

  • Pipeline Operations: Gray Oak will be inspected and monitored with the latest technology. Before beginning commercial service, all pipeline welds will be X-rayed, and the pipeline will be hydrostatic tested – which involves filling the pipeline with water and pressurizing it above normal operating pressure to ensure there are no leaks.
    • We have monitoring processes in place for all our pipelines. All our pipelines are monitored 24/7 from our control center. We will have thousands of data points coming from transmitters and sensors on the equipment, tanks, and pipeline that will be monitored by highly trained and qualified controllers as well as by the computer systems themselves looking for any abnormal conditions.
    • We will use an Advanced Leak Detection system utilizing the data from the field and specialized computers and software to provide our Controllers quick and early indications of possible leaks. Suspected leaks will be quickly isolated using remotely operated valves controlled from our central control center.
    • The pipeline will be monitored and maintained under our integrity management program, which includes cathodic protection to prevent corrosion and regular inspections using “smart pigs” – computerized internal inspection tools that can detect potential corrosion, dents or cracks from inside the pipe.
    • We also inspect the lines in person. We fly over the pipelines, drive them and walk them at least once a week to check for potential damage visible from the surface.

What is the Gray Oak Pipeline?

The Gray Oak Pipeline will be a new, 850-mile-long pipeline transporting crude oil from the West Texas Permian Basin to destinations in the Corpus Christi, Sweeny and Freeport markets.

  • Gray Oak Pipeline LLC is a joint venture owned by Phillips 66 Partners, Marathon Petroleum and Enbridge. Phillips 66 will build and operate the pipeline, which is expected to be in service by the end of 2019.
  • The majority of the pipeline route follows existing infrastructure corridors minimizing short-term disruption and the pipeline’s overall footprint.
  • The pipeline will have initial capacity of 800,000 barrels per day (BPD) based on shipper commitments of 700,000 BPD and the reservation of capacity for walk-up shippers. The pipeline is expandable to approximately 1 million BPD subject to additional shipper commitments (as of July 27, 2018).

What is the benefit of the Gray Oak Pipeline?

The Gray Oak Pipeline is being constructed to support the continued growth of the Texas energy industry, responding to market demand for transportation infrastructure to market centers on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

  • The Gray Oak Pipeline will provide a reliable method of delivering crude oil to the Corpus Christi and Sweeny/Freeport market centers from West Texas. Current pipeline takeaway is limited for transporting oil from the Permian basin, supplies are often bottlenecked and frequently shipped by truck.
  • This new pipeline means more oil will be transported via pipeline and not over the road, which will reduce highway traffic.
  • Greater access to a secure and reliable source of U.S. oil will contribute to the economic vitality of the state and improve the global competitiveness of the refining industry in Texas.
  • The economy will also benefit because some of the pipeline construction firms we are using are Texas-based companies.
  • Local economies will see long-term benefits from property tax revenues from the new pipeline. We will be creating full-time positions in some communities where storage facilities will be located. Local services like restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and gas stations can expect to see increases in business during the construction phase.

Why is a new pipeline necessary?

  • New pipelines ensure new energy being found and produced in North America can get from production sites to refineries, manufacturers and, ultimately, consumers in various forms. They provide a vital link between energy resources and refineries, helping increase U.S. energy security and independence.
  • The dramatic production growth in the Permian Basin has and will continue to have a direct impact on the improvement of the state’s economy. Pipelines like Gray Oak are important for maintaining oil and gas jobs and jobs in related fields for decades into the future.
  • In addition to jobs, taxes paid by companies producing, transporting and processing oil from the region will continue to pay taxes to support state and local governments as well as schools and important infrastructure improvements.
  • According to a new report from IHS Markit, the Permian Basin has the potential to nearly double crude oil production by 2023. This projected increase would account for 60 percent of the world’s production growth during that period.
  • On a local level, the Gray Oak Pipeline will positively impact Texas residents by strengthening the global competitiveness of refineries and other oil processing companies located in communities like Corpus Christi, Sweeny and Freeport.

Why not transport by rail or highways?

  • Pipelines are the safest, most efficient way to transport crude oil, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Pipelines operate 24 hours a day and reduce the number of over-the-road trucks carrying oil on local highways and streets.

Where is the Gray Oak Pipeline located? What communities are affected?

  • The Gray Oak Pipeline will span from West Texas to market centers in Corpus Christi, and ultimately to Sweeny/Freeport.
  • The proposed route will have origination stations constructed in Reeves, Loving, Winkler, and Crane counties in West Texas, as well as from locations in the Eagle Ford production area in South Texas.

Gray Oak will pass through the following counties:

1. Reeves 8. Crockett 15. Frio 22.Karnes
2. Loving 9. Schleicher 16. La Salle 23. Goliad
3. Winkler 10. Sutton 17. McMullen 24. Victoria
4. Ward 11. Edwards 18. Live Oak 25. Jackson
5. Crane 12. Kinney 19. San Patricio 26. Wharton
6. Upton 13. Maverick 20. Nueces 27. Matagorda
7. Reagan 14. Zavala 21. Bee 28. Brazoria