Shell Pipeline Co. LP received a “very encouraging response” in a nonbinding open season for capacity on its proposed Houma, LA, to Houston (Ho-Ho) oil pipeline system reversal, which would take advantage of growing oil shale production, the company said Thursday.

The Royal Dutch Shell plc subsidiary in August said it was considering a plan to reverse flows on the 22-inch diameter Ho-Ho system to enable more than 300,000 b/d of crude to be distributed across the Gulf Coast region (see Shale Daily, Aug. 9). The reversal would enable pipe access to crude production in Texas and the Midcontinent, including the Barnett, Eagle Ford and Bakken shales, as well as growing crude supplies in the Cushing, OK, area, Shell said.

“The indicative response from shippers for the Houston to St. James, LA, route was greater than the pipeline space offered,” Shell Pipeline said. The pipeline unit plans to seek binding firm capacity commitments from shippers in an open season in early 2012. The Ho-Ho reversal would complement pipeline infrastructure now being built to the Houston area, the company said.

Shell Pipeline’s project would reverse the existing Ho-Ho service to connect the Golden Triangle markets in Texas with the Mississippi River markets in Louisiana. Subject to customer commitments and regulatory approval, the Ho-Ho reversal could begin service in early 2013, it said.