The Iowa Utility Board (IUB) said Monday it will decide Thursday on a proposal by Energy Transfer Partners LP (ETP) to build the $3.8 billion, 1,154-mile Dakota Access LLC oil pipeline from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a hub in Illinois (see Shale Daily, March 3). IUB members will review a draft order from their staff during closed deliberations leading up to Thursday afternoon’s public session. Regulators in North and South Dakota, and in Illinois, already have approved the line, so the IUB action is the last major hurdle for the ETP project that bids to eventually transport volumes approaching half of North Dakota’s current 1 million b/d daily output of Bakken crude.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched the first phase of a new electronic bidding process for agency construction contracts that, when fully implemented, is projected to save DEP $37,000 annually. The DEP regularly issues bids for construction projects, including the cleaning and plugging of oil and natural gas wells. Contractors can now access posted bids for free on a new website. DEP said it would complete the initiative later this year by allowing bids and bid bonds to be submitted online. The agency estimates that there could be nearly 200,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the state. The electronic bidding initiative is part of a broader effort by DEP to reduce its costs and make agency processes easier for the regulated community. DEP Secretary John Quigley said earlier this month that he hopes to eventually have permitting, bonding and payments all done electronically.