PSC approves produced fuels pipeline upgrade

Mar 15, 2018

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (i), Randy Christmann (chairman) and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has given its approval to Cenex to build a new produced fuels pipeline – to bring mainly diesel fuel from its Laurel, Montana refinery to Minot.

It’s a 181 mile pipeline. It replaces an existing 8 inch diameter pipeline with a 10 inch diameter pipeline. The line being replaced would run from Sidney, Montana to Minot. The PSC has jurisdiction over 150 miles of the new pipeline, in Williams, Mountrail and Ward Counties.

The new pipeline would carry 38,000 barrels a day – with a potential expansion to 60,000 barrels a day.

"It is basically a refresh of infrastructure that was constructed in the 1950s," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "It will serve North Dakota customers."

Fedorchak called it "critical infrastructure" for North Dakota's economy.

"Once completed, it should be a line that is safer, and can operate for many, many years," Fedorchak said.

Cenex still has some work to do – it has received easements from about  77 percent of the  landowners along the route, and is in negotiations with the other 23 percent.

PSC members said they believe those negotiations are in good faith. In the meantime, the company can now start construction on the line in the areas were easements have been granted.

The upgrade has a $115 million price tag.