Photo by Sue WatsonPictured is the Valero facility at the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park in Marshall County.
The Byhalia Connection project is a proposed crude oil pipeline scheduled to be constructed from the Valero Refinery in Shelby County, Tenn., to the Valero Collierville Terminal Facility in Marshall County.
The project will connect two major existing crude oil pipeline systems, linking the Diamond Pipeline, originating in Cushing, Okla., to the Capline System which extends from Central Illinois to the Gulf Coast.
The pipeline system will run nearly 49 miles from Memphis, through DeSoto County, and into Marshall County and aims at strengthening the economy of the region and America’s energy independence.
Pipelines are the safest way to move crude oil across the United States where it is stored along the way and then carried to refineries to produce gasoline and jet fuel and other petroleum-based products.
The Byhalia Connection is now working to obtain easements and permits along the 49-mile corridor that terminates at a storage facility in Marshall County, according to Jeff Cosola, a public affairs advisor with Plains All American.
“We are currently in the permitting and acquisition phase of the project, where we obtain permits and rights-of-way required to safely design, build and operate the Byhalia Connection pipeline,” Cosola said. “We are targeting to start construction in early 2021 and be in service in about nine months.”
Justin Hall, executive director of the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, said pre-construction activities at the Valero storage facilities in the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park resumed the last week in January.
The pipeline will transport crude oil for storage in Marshall County. The project will generate tax revenue from the infrastructure and on inventory, Hall said.
He said rock has been spread on a 30-acre site. Preconstruction and site review activities of the pad for the storage tanks is underway, but installation of storage tanks has not started.
Cosola said the company has obtained easement agreements from landowners that cover 94 percent of the rightsof-way across the project. It may be necessary to initiate eminent domain proceedings in select situations.
“We are still working to find mutually beneficial agreements with all remaining landowners,” he said.
The pipeline is typically buried between three and four feet below the surface, he said, and the Byhalia Connection team has spent more than 10,000 hours to find a route with the fewest collective impacts. The project has also been designed to operate safely in local environments.
An economic infusion of over $14 million in the region will be generated during the construction phase, Cosola said. Once construction is complete approximately $3 million in annual property taxes will be paid to municipalities along the route.
Plains All American and Valero, two Texas-based companies, are partnering to build the Byhalia Connection Pipeline. It will be operated by a subsidiary of Plains.
The refined products then travel from refinery to market by tanker, truck, railroad tank car, barges and ships.
The pipeline group is also making donations to MidSouth charitable organization – donating over $1 million in 2020 to charitable organizations. Some of those local contributions have gone to the Mid-South Food Bank, Feed the Needy, Trinity Healthcare, Byhalia Commons, the Coldwater Conservancy and Uplift Westwood, Cosola said.
Support to other charitable organizations also include Helping Hands, Man-Up Teacher Fellowship, Memphis City Library Foundation, Neshoba Community Resource Center, Regional One Health, SchoolSeed, Brown Baptist Church, the Byhalia Arts Council, Healing Hearts Child Advocacy Center, House of Grace, I-NSPIRE Foundation and the Marshall County Public Library System.