Enbridge is Missouri’s oil boom asset
SHELBYVILLE, Mo. — The easiest way to see Shelby County’s most valuable asset is to look straight down, toward the rich farmland. Agriculture is the biggest employer here.
Beneath the farmland, though, something else is hidden in the earth, providing a new jolt to this rural economy: two underground oil pipelines carrying up to 800,000 barrels of Canadian crude each day.
Both of the pipelines are owned by Calgary-based Enbridge. The newer of the two was completed in late 2014. The $2.6 billion pipeline added a huge asset to the property tax rolls in Shelby and 10 other Missouri counties it touches.
“I don’t know if I can stress to you how important the pipeline is,” says Glenn Eagan, Shelby County presiding commissioner. “It added approximately 22 percent to our tax base.”
Eagan says the new pipeline has boosted funding for a wide range of community services. It also helped fund a much-needed raise for county employees.
“It’s just a tremendous asset,” Eagan said.
The pipeline project was spurred by the record-breaking Canadian oil boom in the Alberta oil sands, roughly 2,000 miles from Missouri. Once the crude is extracted, oil companies pay pipeline owners like Enbridge to pump their product south to American refineries.
The two Enbridge pipelines, called Spearhead and Flanagan South, carry Canadian crude along adjacent right-of-ways from Chicago to Cushing, Oklahoma.