Pipeline Authority director: Rail may be the only option for Bakken crude | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Pipeline Authority director: Rail may be the only option for Bakken crude

Jul 7, 2020

The director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority said a federal judge’s decision to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline until the Corps of Engineers does an “Environmental Impact Statement” is throwing a curveball at the state’s oil industry.

The pipeline has been carrying 550,000 barrels of Bakken crude daily. The judge set a 30 day deadline to get the oil out of the pipe, so it can be shut down.

Authority director Justin Kringstad said shutting down that line will add numerous challenges and complexities to the transportation and marketing of North Dakota crude. He said companies are now looking at what they can do, not only in the short term, with reduced production, but longer-term, as production recovers. And Kringstad said rail is probably the only option.

Kringstad says internal logistics are challenging as well.

"There were a number of gathering pipeline systems that were built to connect with Dakota Access," Kringstad said. "With that option being removed, the logistics of now moving those barrels onto trucks, in order to change the destination within the state, before it can get on different pipleines or on rail cars will be a challenge."

Energy Transfer, along with state officials, said shutting down the line during the crisis could be a devastating blow to North Dakota's economy. They said the oil will have to be distributed by rail during the temporary shutdown, creating more safety issues.

(The Prairie News Service contributed to this report.)