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Oil, NatGas Liquids Pipelines Approved in North Dakota

North Dakota officials recently approved in-state pipelines to move Bakken crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGL) to market.

The quiet approvals are in contrast to protests by Native Americans and others against a nearby oil pipeline (see Shale DailyAug. 26). No one is calling for a standoff against a ONEOK Partners LP 16-inch diameter NGL pipeline in McKenzie County in the heart of the Bakken Shale play. Nor was there any opposition to the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) also approving BOE Pipeline LLC’s and Plains Terminals' separate 16-inch diameter oil pipelines in Dunn/McKenzie and McKenzie counties, respectively.

Siting permits for the three gathering projects were approved in mid-August by the PSC. The smallest of the three projects, an interconnection for the Energy Transfer Partners' four-state Dakota Access Pipeline, has drawn no interest from opponents of the $3.7 billion, four-state pipeline project elsewhere.

"These three pipeline projects were examined carefully by our staff experts, were discussed thoroughly at public meetings in the communities near to each project, and they meet the requirements established under state law for permits to construct," said Julie Fedorchak, PSC chairman. From Fedorchak's perspective, the projects are not just important to North Dakota, but also to the region and the nation overall.

ONEOK's Bakken Pipeline LLC plans to build and operate the $19.5 million Garden Creek Loop NGL project, a 14.4-mile pipeline and related facilities to transport Y-grade NGLs, consisting of ethane, propane, butanes, iso-butane mix, pentanes, and natural gasoline.

Garden Creek plants and pipelines were part of a $785 million expansion program that ONEOK announced two years ago for the Williston Basin (see Shale DailyJuly 31, 2014). The new pipeline will parallel and interconnect with the existing Garden Creek NGL pipeline to expand its capacity from 74,000 b/d to 93,000 b/d. The existing line starts at the ONEOK Rockies Midstream Garden Creek Gas Plants near Watford City, proceeding generally west and south through McKenzie County.

Among the two new approved oil pipelines, BOE's project is the largest, stretching 41.8 miles in Dunn and McKenzie counties, carrying Bakken crude from an Area Custody Transfer meter near Johnson's Corner to the BOE terminal near Killdeer, which is connected by an existing pipeline to the BOE rail hub southwest of Dickinson, ND.

BOE has indicated to the PSC that the proposed new pipeline will have a 165,000 b/d capacity and cost an estimated $55 million.

Plains Terminals North Dakota LLC's oil line is a new 3.5-mile pipeline to construct and operate a Johnson's Corner-to-Dakota Access Pipeline Project connection. The project will allow crude to flow in either direction. It will have a maximum capacity of 150,000 b/d and a "normal" throughput of about 50,000 b/d. The estimated cost is $5 million.

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