RUNNELS COUNTY – Construction has begun on a crude oil pipeline, which is cutting a path right through Runnels County.

RUNNELS COUNTY – Construction has begun on a crude oil pipeline, which is cutting a path right through Runnels County.

Crews are currently working on a directional drill off of Highway 67 north of Rowena, officials with Enterprise Products reported Friday.

The pipeline starts in Midland County and will run all the way to Sealy where the crude oil will be off loaded and shipped out, said Rick Rainey, vice president and director of public relations for Enterprise.

“Work in Runnels County began in mid-May and is expected to continue through October,” Rainey said last week. “Clearing of the right-of-way has been completed and pipe has been strung out along the route.”

About 25 miles of the pipeline will come through Runnels County, and it will also go through Coke and Concho counties. Enterprise will store the pipe in a yard where County roads 230, 231 and 114 converge.

Company officials have said that the project, which started in 2015, was put on hold, due to the downturn in the oil and gas market. However, the company restarted the project in January.

Rainey said that during construction, approximately 200 Enterprise employees would be used in the Runnels County area of the project. The company will employ 1,000 workers system wide, he said.

“The companies will be using motels, companies to provide services such as potable water to gravel to rock to sand - anything that would support the construction of a pipeline,” Rainey explained. “Once it is in service it will generate some additional tax revenue for the county as well.”

Rainey said the pipeline is expected to be in service by the fourth quarter of this year.

“Contractors are in the process of welding with ditching,” Rainey said. “Since multiple crews are working on different segments along the 416-mile route simultaneously, the construction doesn’t progress in a linear fashion.”

Approximately 450,000 barrels of oil will be shipped per day, via the pipeline to the Gulf Coast.

The line will go to an Enterprise storage facility in Sealy, which has a 6.5 million barrel storage capacity.

“The producers have come to us and said we need something to get our product to market,” Rainey said.

Runnels County Judge Barry Hilliard signed off on the project as long as the areas where the construction occurs were “left the way they were found.”

“We absolutely take steps to restore the right of way where the pipeline will be located and will continue to work with landowners as necessary to make sure they are satisfied with the condition of their property,” Rainey said of the company’s policy. “I can’t say the land will be left the way we found it since it may be necessary to clear some trees or other vegetation in order to carry out construction.”

So far, all easements necessary for the project have been 100 percent secured.

There will be pump stations constructed along the pipeline, none of which will be located in Runnels County. Also, once the project is complete pipeline markers and other safety features will be installed that let the public knows where the lines are and help ensure they are protected.

Segment 2 of the pipeline is going to Highway158 and runs diagonal south to Highway 208 south of Robert Lee and continues northeast of Rowena. The pipeline also enters Runnels County west of Saynor Lane and goes south east to FM 2333 to northeast of Rowena and continues to Concho county directly south for about four miles and then southeast to north of Doole.

The new pipeline will run parallel to the Seminole Pipeline, also owned by Enterprise Products, which transports natural gas.