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Energy & Environment

Despite slowdown in the oil industry, pipeline projects are moving ahead

Drilling activity may have slowed in the Williston Basin.

But so-called “mid-stream” companies are still busy, planning and building pipelines, natural gas processing plants and other infrastructure.

"The midstream industry is a long-term industry," said North Dakota Pipeline Authority director Justin Kringstad. "It has a long term vision of these projects. They're looking at the oil play with a five, 10, 15, 20-plus play in mind."

Kringstad said with current oil prices low, one might think the mid-stream companies may be a little hesitant.

"However, when we look at the resource, the potential, the strategies that companies will use to develop the resource, the expectation is for long term, high levels of production in the region," Kringstad said. "They have not taken their eye off the ball. They continue to watch what's happening."

Kringstad says it's also timing.

"they want to have the timing aligned, as well as the project size," Kringstad said. "It's difficult in today's environment, but long-term, everyone is under the full expectation that this is a play that will be here for many years."

Two big pipeline projects are still pending. One is the Dakota Access pipeline, which would run from the Williston Basin to Illinois. The other is the Sandpiper pipeline, from Tioga to Superior, Wisconsin.

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