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Bakken Pipeline System A Reality With 570,000 b/d Capacity to Gulf, ETP Says

Although they won't say when full capacity will be reached next year, backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) made clear this week that the vision of creating a pipeline route for Bakken sweet crude production in North Dakota to the Gulf Coast is now a reality.

DAPL and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Co. (ETCO) projects make up the Bakken Pipeline System, which has expanded its capacity based on a successful open season earlier this year, a Texas-based spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) told NGI's Shale Daily on Wednesday.

The $6.78 billion, nearly 1,200-mile DAPL runs from North Dakota through four states to a hub in south-central Illinois at Patoka. From there the 788-mile ETCO converted natural gas pipeline carries the crude oil to the Gulf Coast at Nederland, TX.

"The combined system has a total capacity of up to approximately 570,000 b/d, and it can be expanded to this," the spokesperson said.

Dakota Access and ETCO have commitments including "shipper flexibility and walk-up" for approximately 520,000 b/d, the spokesperson said. "This is up from 470,000 b/d due to the successful supplemental open season held earlier this year that committed an additional 50,000 b/d."

An analysis late last month indicated that DAPL likely will not reach the 470,000 b/d capacity until next year, according to ESAI Energy LLC, but the ETP spokesperson reiterated that the combined system (DAPL and ETCO) has a total capacity of approximately 570,000 b/d.

"I don’t know where the capacity build up information [from ESAI] came from as we don’t provide that," she said.

Flows began in March from the North Dakota-based DAPL, but they were not expected to reach amarket hub in south-central Illinois until mid-May.

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