Explorer pipeline

The Explorer pipeline is one of the major refined product pipelines that moves gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from the US Gulf Coast to the US Midwest market.

Historically Explorer has been an important source of supply for the Midwest region, but as local refining production in the Midwest has increased the need for movements on Explorer has declined. 

Due to the volume of product moved, the pipeline (especially at its Houston origin) is a major point for spot trading of these products, providing the Gulf Coast Pipe price assessment.


Explorer is a major refined products pipeline running from the refining centers around Houston and Port Arthur, Texas north to Midwest markets including Dallas, Tulsa, St. Louis, and Chicago.

Explorer is comprised of several segments:

  • Port Arthur to Tulsa - 28" line
  • Houston to Arlington (Dallas) - 10" line
  • Tulsa to Chicago - 24" line

The southern segments (to Tulsa and Arlington) have a combined capacity of 660 thousand barrels/day. The northern segment has a capacity of 450 thousand barrels/day.

The current owners of Explorer are Phillips 66, Marathon Petroleum, Sunoco Logistics, and Shell. 


Explorer was originally owned and built by eight oil companies: Apco Oil, Cities Services, Continental Oil, Gulf Oil, Phillips Petroleum, Shell, Sun Oil, and Texaco

Operations on the line began in 1972. 

Tim Fitzgibbon (12/2018)

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