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ND oil industry representatives say a 'Bakken-East' pipeline is essential to boost oil production

Oil industry officials say without a new 'Bakken-East' natural gas pipeline, oil production in the Bakken will drop.

That was the message from the North Dakota Petroleum Council to a Legislative interim committee.

Council President Ron Ness told lawmakers he's working with potential customers in eastern North Dakota for the gas.

"The Bakken producers are on-board," Ness said. "We've got to get the demand side in eastern North Dakota to make some commitments to purchasing the gas."

Ness said that's how pipelines work.

"Somebody commits to put it in, and somebody commits to take it out," Ness said.

North Dakota Pipeline Authority executive director Justin Kringstad told the Committee without a demand for natural gas – and a pipeline to deliver it – it will cause oil companies to have to ratchet-back production, in order to meet the state’s flaring guidelines.

"It could be north of 200,000 to 300,000 barrels per day, if we don't have gas solutions in-place, in order to keep the industry rolling," Kringstad said. "They have no other alternative, but to throttle back on oil production and activity."

The state is offering $150 million to help build the pipeline.

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