Diamond Oil Pipeline

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This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Media and Democracy.

Diamond Oil Pipeline is an oil pipeline in the United States.[1]


The pipeline originates in Cushing, Oklahoma, traverses Oklahoma and Arkansas, and terminates in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Project Details

  • Operator: Plains All American Pipeline[1]
  • Proposed capacity: 200,000 barrels per day[2]
  • Length: 440 miles[2]
  • Status: Operating
  • Start Year: 2017


In August 2014, Plains All American confirmed its plan to build the Diamond Pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to Memphis, Tennessee.[3] The pipeline will bring shale oil directly from Cushing to Valero's Memphis sweet crude refinery, which can process 7.5 million gallons per day to produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, eliminating the step of transporting the oil first through Louisiana.[3][2]

The project will cost an estimated $900 million.[2]

Environmental Issues

The Diamond Oil Pipeline transport crude oil across 14 counties, five rivers, and eleven watersheds,[4] with five waterway crossings approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, 443 water crossings approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, and 48 water crossings that either did not need or permit or were outside of the Corps' jurisdiction.[3] Arkansas Department of Health Engineering Section Director Jeff Stone told the Corps that the planned pipeline route could impact the drinking water sources of nearly 250,000 Arkansans.[5]

The pipeline also includes a section of 20-inch-diameter pipeline that traverses under the Mississippi River from West Memphis to Presidents Island, a peninsula located along the Mississippi River in Memphis. According to The Commercial Appeal, the section does not include a layer of clay protecting the city's drinking water source.[3]

Citizen Opposition

January protest of Diamond Pipeline in Memphis, TN

Environmental organization Arkansas Rising has led numerous protests of the Diamond Pipeline, including acts of civil disobedience.[6]

In January 2017, almost 50 police and fire vehicles responded to a protest of the pipeline located off of Interstate 55 south of downtown Memphis, Tennessee, led by environmental groups such as Arkansas Rising.[3] Twelve people out of approximately 40 protesters were arrested.[7]

On March 20, 2017, water protector Tyler Hamilton locked down pipeline equipment at a construction site in Pope County, Arkansas, disrupting construction for several hours.[6]

Clarksville, Arkansas city officials expressed concern over the pipeline's impact on drinking water supplies and frustration at the process, in which they only learned of the pipeline's planned route from media stories rather than the project developers.[4] The pipeline's planned route took it within one-half of a mile of the city's intake valve that supplied drinking water for roughly 30,000 people, which the pipeline's lead engineer Stephen Lee said was overlooked because it was not on the maps used to plan the route.[8]

At Big Piney Creek in Dover, Arkansas, one family was hit with a three-month temporary condemnation after refusing to allow the pipeline developers to survey their private property.[4]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Diamond Oil Pipeline, A Barrel Full, accessed September 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Diamond Pipeline: Project Overview, Diamond Pipeline LLC, accessed October 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 5 things to know about the Diamond Pipeline protest, The Commercial Appeal, 17 Jan. 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Diamond Pipeline: An In-Depth Look, KATV, 17 Feb. 2017
  5. The Diamond Pipeline: Cutting Through Watersheds, Aquifers, Arkansas Times, 26 Nov. 2015
  6. 6.0 6.1 Arkansas Rising Shuts Down Diamond Pipeline Construction, Earth First!, 24 Mar. 2017
  7. 12 arrested at anti-pipeline protest at Valero Memphis Refinery, WREG, 16 Jan. 2017
  8. The Other Problem with the Diamond Pipeline, HuffPost, 15 Feb. 2017

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