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Business Organizations Keyed to Bauman
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. v. Enterprise Products Partners, L.P.
Citation:593 S.W.3d 732 (Tex. 2020).
In 2008, many major pipeline companies began exploring opportunities to transport crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma south to the Texas Gulf Coast. Enterprise began looking for opportunities to reverse some of the northbound pipelines to meet this need. Enterprise co-owned a pipeline called Seaway with ConocoPhillips that sent oil north to Cushing from the Gulf. Enterprise lobbied ConocoPhillips to reverse the pipeline’s direction, but was refused.
Enterprise then approached ETP about converting and extending a pipeline called Old Ocean, which transported natural gas from Sweeny, Texas to Maypearl, Texas, so that it could move oil south from Cushing. The parties entered into three written agreements, all of which disclaimed any binding or enforceable obligations, and referred to the project as “discussions” of a “proposed joint venture.” The parties received some oil commitments on “Double E”, but Enterprise had already begun to exit negotiations and ultimately ended its relationship with ETP.
A month after the Enterprise/ETP relationship ended, ConocoPhillips announced it was selling its interest in the Seaway pipeline. Enbridge bought ConocoPhillips’ interests and Enterprise and Enbridge invested millions to reverse the direction of Seaway. The new pipeline, Wrangler, has been a financial success.
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