Rangeland Energy LLC’s COLT facility — North Dakota’s largest open-access crude oil marketing terminal, according to the company — has begun serving Bakken and Three Forks shale oil producers, the company said Monday.

The COLT terminal provides refiners, marketers and producers with outbound service by unit train and through the COLT Connector, a 21-mile, bidirectional pipeline that links the COLT terminal with multiple existing and planned pipelines at Rangeland’s Dry Fork Terminal near Tioga, ND, including the Tesoro and Enbridge pipeline systems.

The COLT Hub aggregates crude oil produced in the Bakken utilizing gathering pipelines and trucks. COLT offers crude oil handling and storage service through on-site tankage and access to multiple downstream markets through the COLT Connector and railcar loading facilities. Served by BNSF Railway Co., the COLT Hub loads unit-train shipments of crude oil bound for markets throughout North America, including crude oil receiving terminals along the Gulf Coast.

The Bakken/Sanish/Three Forks play is one of the fastest growing unconventional plays in the United States. According to NGI‘s Shale Daily Unconventional Rig Count, there were 224 rigs actively drilling for oil and gas in the play for the week ending June 8, which is up 2 rigs, or 1% from the previous week’s 222 rigs, and up 30% from the 172 rigs in operation in the play for the similar week a year ago.

The first unit train filled with crude oil departed the COLT facility on June 5. COLT’s initial 720,000 bbl of working storage capacity is expected to expand as Bakken production increases. COLT’s current tankage position includes five 120,000 bbl storage tanks at the COLT Hub and an additional 120,000 bbl storage tank at the Dry Fork terminal.

Initial rail export capacity is 120,000 b/d. In addition, the COLT Connector has the capacity to move an additional 75,000 b/d, the company said.

“With four large crude oil refiners and marketers as anchor customers, along with upstream and downstream connectivity by pipeline and rail, the COLT Hub will create a point of liquidity for Bakken crude oil production by bringing together multiple buyers and sellers at the terminal,” said Rangeland CEO Christopher Keene. “The COLT system is well positioned to grow with the industry in this prolific region.”

Separately, Musket Corp. said Monday it had completed a major expansion at its Dore, ND, crude-by-rail facility, giving it outbound capacity of up to 60,000 b/d of crude oil to markets across the country, an increase from 10,000 b/d. The terminal receives oil from trucks and pipeline through a connection to Banner Pipeline.

“This state-of-the-art facility allows us to provide comprehensive solutions for our customers with marketing and logistics needs in the Bakken,” said Musket Managing Director JP Fjeld-Hansen. “The increased capacity allows Musket to deliver more efficiency to customers needing services from rail loading and supply chain management to price risk management and end markets.”

Musket opened its Dore crude-by-rail facility in 2008. It originally employed 20 people; with the expansion employment is to increase to 50, the company said. The expansion was begun last august (see Shale Daily, Aug. 9, 2011).