Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) has approved Enbridge Bakken Pipeline Co. Inc.’s plans to build the 77-mile Bakken Pipeline Project Canada, which would connect to the Enbridge Pipelines Inc. (EPI) Mainline and carry crude oil from the Bakken Shale to North American refinery markets.

“The board determined that there is enough commercial interest to support the use of the Bakken Pipeline during its economic life,” the NEB said. “Enbridge Bakken successfully demonstrated that there will be sufficient oil supply markets for the projected production.”

Enbridge had requested approval to build and operate the 16-inch diameter pipeline and a pump station to transport crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks formations in Montana and North Dakota to refinery markets in North America. The pipeline would run from Steelman, SK, to EPI’s Mainline in Cromer, MB. The U.S. segment of the pipeline is owned by Enbridge Pipelines (North Dakota) LLC, a subsidiary of Enbridge Energy Partners LP.

Construction of the C$180 million project is scheduled to begin during 2Q2012 and the project is expected to be in service in 1Q2013.

The NEB also gave Enbridge Bakken approval to acquire and operate Line EX-02, which is currently owned by Enbridge Pipelines (Westspur) Inc.

Bakken Pipeline Project Canada is another move to break through the Midcontinent bottleneck and flow expanding supplies of crude oil, bolstered by unconventional production south. Enbridge Inc. and Enterprise Products Partners LP have said they will hold concurrent open seasons Jan. 4-Feb. 10 for an expansion of their Seaway crude oil pipeline and an extension of the pipeline into the Port Arthur/Beaumont refining market in southeast Texas (see Shale Daily, Dec. 23).

Last month Seaway’s backers announced plans to reverse the flow of the 500-mile, 30-inch diameter pipeline to start sending 150,000 b/d from Cushing, OK, to the Houston area in the second quarter of 2012 (see Shale Daily, Nov. 18). And senior executives at TransCanada Corp. have said that they plan to build a Cushing-to-Gulf of Mexico southern section of the stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline.