Company drops plans to ship oil across Lake Superior

The Indiana-based operator of an oil refinery in Superior, Wis., has suspended plans to ship crude oil across Lake Superior.

Calumet Specialty Products announced plans in 2013 to explore the feasibility of building and operating a crude oil loading dock on Lake Superior. The dock would have been designed to load ships with heavy Canadian and light Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to transport to eastern refineries.

When Calumet first announced the project, it said it was already in talks with potential customers and partners, and expected to have it operational during this year's shipping season. Company officials said transporting oil on ships could help alleviate the bottleneck of crude being shipped in pipelines and on rail cars.

The proposal, however, met strong opposition from environmental groups concerned with the risk of a possible oil spill in the Great Lakes.

The plan hit a snag last year when the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources rejected the company's application to repair the loading dock. It instead ordered a comprehensive environmental assessment of the plan before it could proceed.

Calumet told the state earlier this year that it would withdraw its permit application because the market no longer supported the project, said Nancy Larson, a water program leader for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The company confirmed that it's no longer pursuing the project and is focused instead on higher return growth projects.

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