A unit of San Antonio-based refiner/transporter Tesoro Corp. started an open season Tuesday for its proposed crude oil processing terminal and pipeline expansion in the Bakken Shale play in North Dakota. The first of the expansions is to be operable by July 1.

Tesoro Logistics LP (TLLP) launched a binding process to assess shipper interest in firm capacity on a Tesoro High Plains Pipeline system expansion to transport crude from various points in the Williston Basin. The open season runs until noon CST on March 18.

TLLP is proposing an expansion of its Bakken Area Storage Hub (BASH) terminal facility under construction near the High Plains' Ramberg Station, providing capability to allow shipper access to and from multiple pipelines and rail loading facilities in the Bakken area from points in Burke, McKenzie and Williams counties.

Noting he had not yet spoken with Tesoro directly regarding the announced project, Justin Kringstad, executive director of North Dakota Pipeline Infrastructure Authority, said the project is “intrastate” in scope. “[It is designed to] enhance the movement and storage of crude oil within North Dakota but will not change the overall long-haul export capacity out of the state,” Kringstad told NGI's Shale Daily on Wednesday.

Initial storage capacity at BASH is expected to be 1 million bbl, with the first 360,000 bbl of working capacity under construction, anchored by another Tesoro unit, Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co. LLC. TLLP has the necessary adjacent land access to expand BASH's capacity to 2.5 million bbl.

High Plains Pipeline's planned expansion is in two phases: a 70,000 b/d first phase, and a second phase adding another 90,000 b/d. The first phase would be ready when the expanded BASH opens July 1; the second phase would be ready by the second half of 2015, Tesoro said.

"The in-service time frames are subject to High Plains obtaining sufficient commitments from shippers, as well as regulatory and internal approvals," the company said.

For information, email THPPOpenSeason@tsocorp.com or visit www.tesorologistics.com and select “High Plains Open Season.”