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oil pipelines

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved a plan to convert about 20 miles of 8-inch oil pipeline in McKenzie County from a gathering line to a transmission line.

But that approval came after the company – Belle Fourche – already made the conversion.

Gathering lines are less regulated than transmission lines.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said PSC staff will be having some conversations with the company about the right way to make these conversions. She said she wants to deter companies from taking this approach. That could lead to financial penalties.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has given the go-ahead to Hess Corporation to convert 19 miles of oil gathering pipeline to a transmission line.

That pipeline will connect to the Dakota Access Pipeline. It will have a capacity of up to 160,000 barrels of oil per day.

Hess will have to build three booster pumps. The cost of the conversion and addition of the booster pumps: $114 million.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Even though the big Sandpiper Pipeline project has been put on indefinite hold – and may not be built – the North Dakota Public Service Commission is extending a “construction inspection” contract for the project.

The pipeline was to extend from the Bakken, across northern North Dakota  to Superior, Wisconsin – 161 miles in length.

A third party firm is hired to make sure construction work is done properly and to the specs set out in the siting permit.

But if the project is on hold, why is the contract being extended?

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A crude oil pipeline that was converted from a gathering line to a transmission line will be carrying more crude.

The Public Service Commission gave the OK to Hiland Crude, LLC's plan to increase the capacity from 36,000 barrels a day to 85,000 barrels a day. The pipeline itself will not change – but Hiland is also building more storage.

"They've gotten more producers interested in using that pipeline," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "One of which is the competion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and this is a feeder to that."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A milestone for North Dakota Pipeline Authority director Justin Kringstad.

For the first time since he began that job – in 2008 – there is enough pipeline capacity to take the current production of Bakken crude to market. A substantial amount of crude has been shipped by rail – but that percentage has been reduced as more pipeline capacity comes on line.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is now operational – and is to carry 520,000 barrels of oil a day.

But Kringstad said oil will still move by rail.

Dakota Access Pipeline construction stopped

Aug 18, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier said construction of the Dakota Access pipeline south of Mandan has been stopped – for safety reasons.

Kirschmeier said between 1500 and 2000 people are protesting the pipeline. He says Highway 1806 has now been closed just south of the Veterans’ Cemetery to the Sioux County line. Kirschmeyer said the protests have turned – as he put it – “unlawful.”

"Our biggest concern at this point is with traffic safety," Kirschmeier told reporters. "We want to make sure the protestors have the area to protest, but it has to be done legally."

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.

PSC: No slowdown in pipeline sitings

Jul 9, 2015

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission say even with a supposed slowdown in the oil and gas industry – their workload hasn’t dropped off.

The PSC is still siting pipelines and gas processing plants.

"They talk about the slowdown of oil development," said Commissioner Brian Kalk. "We're certainly not seeing it."

"We're seeing a continual stream of applications for pipelines," said PSC Chairman Julie Fedorchak. "And all of them are eager to get the permits and start construction."

An official with Enbridge Pipeline says work on the North Dakota portion of the Sandpiper pipeline will start soon.

The pipeline will run from Tioga to Wisconsin – and will carry 225,000 barrels of Bakken crude. Its corridor is roughly parallel to US Highway Two in North Dakota.

"In North Dakota, we're planning on starting facility construction in the upcoming month or two," said Bob Steede, Enbridge's regional director in North Dakota. "We're making preparations to do that, while we're going through the regulatory process in Minnesota and Wisconsin."

New pipeline would go under Lake Sakakawea

Jul 31, 2014

A new oil pipeline project is in the works.

Paradigm Midstream Services is proposing a 78 mile pipeline to run from oil fields in McKenzie County to Mountrail County. Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says the company at this point hasn’t filed any route or corridor plans – but is asking the PSC for designation of “public convenience and necessity.”