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Dakota Access Oil Pipeline Gets OK From Illinois Regulators

Energy Transfer Partners' (ETP) proposed 1,134-mile, 450,000 b/d oil pipeline from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a hub in south-central Illinois won approval from Illinois state regulators earlier this month. Project backers are still hoping to complete the oil line by the end of 2016.

In North Dakota, one of two states where project is pending, Public Service Commission (PSC) Chair Julie Fedorchak told news media that a decision on the Dakota Access pipeline project is expected next month. That leaves the Iowa Utility Board (IUB) as the lone remaining approval needed for ETP's $3.8 billion project. South Dakota's regulators and the Illinois Commerce Commission have both approved permits for the project.

Fedorchak has said there are still two remaining issues needing resolution: shared working space on parts of the pipeline right-of-way and ultimately who will be responsible for reclamation of that right-of-way.

A spokesperson for the IUB told NGI's Shale Daily that Iowa's regulatory unit has not set a date for deciding on the pipeline. Opening briefs are due by Jan. 19 and reply briefs by Feb. 2, the spokesperson said.

Carrying shades of the Keystone XL standoff that emerged in the upper Midwest, Iowa environmental organizations led by the state's Sierra Club chapter have urged state regulators to deny a permit to the Dakota Access project (see Shale Daily, Jan. 13). At issue is an Iowa permit for a hazardous liquid pipeline permit.

In this case, the IUB has identified various global, national and state issues that are part of the permit request, along with the more direct routing and eminent domain issues.

As currently proposed, Dakota Access would transport 450,000 b/d, with a capacity as high as 570,000 b/d or more, which could represent half of current Bakken daily crude oil production, according to ETP. The project would give shippers the ability to access multiple markets, including the Midwest, East Coast and Gulf Coast via Sunoco Logistics Partners’ crude oil terminal facility in Nederland, TX.

Last September, ETP said construction of the gathering terminals for the oil pipeline would start early in 2016 and be completed before the end of the year (see Shale Daily, Sept. 11). A unit of Tulsa-based Matrix Service Co. won the bid to build the six gathering terminals, all in North Dakota.

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