ND regulators send letter of support for pipeline

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 4, 2014 at 2:15 pm •  Published: March 4, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Industrial Commission has sent a letter to federal regulators in support of a proposed $2.6 billion pipeline that would move North Dakota oil to Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Energy is proposing the 612-mile Sandpiper pipeline to carry 225,000 barrels of oil daily to a hub in northern Minnesota and 375,000 barrels to one in northwestern Wisconsin. If approved by state and federal regulators, it would be the largest pipeline moving oil out of North Dakota, the nation's second-leading producer of oil behind Texas.

The Industrial Commission, which regulates oil and gas development in the state, sent the letter Monday supporting the project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the interstate transmission of oil, natural gas and electricity. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem — all Republicans — make up the state commission.

"Projects like Sandpiper will provide reliable and efficient transportation access to diverse downstream markets, potentially resulting in better crude oil prices and increased revenues to all parties," the letter said.

Enbridge obtained shipping commitments last month from oil companies to use the pipeline. The company said in federal filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that it has received enough shipping commitments from companies to move forward with the project.

North Dakota has more than doubled its oil production in the past two years, closing in on a million barrels of oil a day. But due to the lack of pipeline capacity in the state, most of the state's daily oil production is being shipped by rail. A barrel is equivalent to 42 gallons.

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