As shale oil and natural gas development continues to ramp up across the country, it is important to ensure that the nation’s midstream infrastructure is up to the task of handling the increased production, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), which on Tuesday announced the creation of a midstream department.

The midstream department will focus on issues related to energy infrastructure and the transportation of oil and gas. Plains All American Pipeline LP President Harry Pefanis will chair the committee, made up of API member company representatives who will oversee the work of the new department.

“In order for America’s oil and natural gas renaissance to continue, we need a world class infrastructure system to deliver that energy to consumers,” said API CEO Jack Gerard. “Creating a division within our organization focused on midstream issues will enable the industry to address the critical issues around energy infrastructure.”

With new sources of gas and oil coming online in non-traditional areas of supply, the challenge is how to get those new resources to market, whether it be by rail, tanker or pipeline. The API’s new department will also be tasked with countering opposition of energy transportation projects, such as the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would run from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast (see Shale Daily, Jan. 9). Smaller projects are also running into roadblocks, environmental and otherwise. Just this week, Iowa environmental organizations, led by the state’s Sierra Club chapter, asked state regulators to deny a permit request from the backers of the proposed 1,100-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, which would transport Bakken crude oil to the Gulf Coast (see Shale Daily, Jan. 13).

The new department will encompass API’s policy work on the transportation of oil and natural gas by pipelines, rail, ship and other methods — areas that were previously split between API’s upstream and downstream departments. Robin Rorick, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the oil and natural gas industry, will lead the department as group director of midstream and industry operations.

Rorick, who joined API in 1996 and for the last five years has worked as director of marine and security, said it takes a strong and diverse supply chain to meet the United States’ energy needs. “Every method of transportation that we use has an important role to play in the safe, reliable and efficient movement of oil and natural gas from the wellhead to consumers.”