Enterprise Products Partners and Energy Transfer Partners have agreed to form a 50/50 joint venture (JV) to design and build a 400,000 barrels per day crude oil pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to Houston in US.

The company said that the project will allow greater access to the US Gulf Coast-area refining complex and add approximately 500,000 barrels of storage capacity at new facilities to be constructed and owned by the joint venture at Enterprise’s new Houston crude oil terminal.

The pipeline will provide the refiners on the Gulf Coast an improved access to growing supplies of domestic crude oil production and an alternative to higher priced crude oil imports, which represent their largest source of supply.

Enterprise and Energy Transfer will each contribute existing assets to the joint venture, including Energy Transfer’s 240-mile, 24-inch diameter natural gas pipeline in East Texas, which will comprise approximately 40% of the proposed system.

The terminus of the pipeline will be at Enterprise’s ECHO crude oil storage and terminal facility in southeast Harris County, Texas.

Subject to sufficient commitments from shippers and the required regulatory approvals, the new pipeline is expected to begin service in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The joint venture partners will share commercial responsibilities, with Enterprise serving as operator.