While the new Alberta Clipper pipeline technically ends in Superior, Wis., the Murphy Oil refinery there doesn't need and really can't use any of the new oil moving south from Canada.
Dave Podratz, Superior refinery manager for Murphy Oil USA, said existing pipelines bring his refinery enough oil.
"It won't affect us at all. We won't be using any of that capacity,'' Podratz said.
Murphy's proposed $6 billion refinery expansion has been shelved -- apparently permanently -- as several factors have combined to cut U.S. demand for gasoline, Podratz said.
New oil moving on the Alberta Clipper will probably keep moving south, on another Enbridge pipeline -- called the Southern Access -- to refineries in Illinois and Indiana, such as a new BP refinery outside Chicago.
Had Murphy Oil decided to build its massive expansion in Superior, first unveiled in 2007, the Alberta Clipper probably would have supplied Murphy. Experts say U.S. demand for gasoline may have peaked in 2007 and may never get that high again. Gas demand is down because of the recession, higher gas prices, higher-mileage cars, older Baby Boom drivers driving fewer miles, conservation efforts and other reasons.
Meanwhile, Podratz said the U.S. is importing more and more refined gasoline from refineries overseas, lowering demand for U.S. refineries even more.
"There have been some U.S. refineries closed in the past year, three I think. ... So we've decided that it's not the best time to be expanding, especially at that kind of cost,'' Podratz said. "Unless things change substantially I don't see it (the Superior expansion) happening.''
Copyright (c) 2010, Duluth News Tribune, Minn. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.