ND gov urges building of more oil, gas pipelines

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm •  Published: June 24, 2014
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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Gov. Jack Dalrymple urged industry and government officials on Tuesday to build more pipelines to keep pace with the breakneck speed of North Dakota's oil production.

Increasing the number of pipelines will reduce truck traffic, curb natural gas flaring and create more markets for the state's oil and gas, Dalrymple told about 200 people gathered for a conference he organized in Bismarck about the future of pipelines in North Dakota.

The state has 17,500 miles of oil and gas pipelines, and is adding about 2,500 miles of pipelines annually — roughly the distance between New York and San Francisco, according to Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.

North Dakota is the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas. The state is producing about 1 million barrels a day, though about 70 percent of it is being moved by rail, as producers increasingly turn to trains to reach U.S. refineries where premium prices are fetched.

However, recent derailments and fires — including an explosion in Quebec last July that killed 47 people — have drawn criticism from lawmakers and Congress about using trains to move oil. The light, sweet crude from the Bakken shale formation in western North Dakota is more volatile than many other types of oil. It's been involved in most of the major accidents as the crude-by-rail industry rapidly expanded during the past several years.

Dalrymple said rail movement is important, but pipelines are essential.

"We know over the long haul that pipelines are the safest, most efficient way to go," the Republican governor said.

North Dakota's pipeline capacity has more than doubled since 2010, to about 783,000 barrels per day, Dalrymple said. Pipeline and refinery projects that are proposed for completion by late 2016 would double the current takeaway capacity, he said.

Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP unveiled one of the proposed projects at the conference on Tuesday: a 1,200-mile pipeline from Stanley, in northwest North Dakota, to Cushing, Okla., the major crude hub where most U.S. shipments are sent.