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Approval from the Iowa Utilities Board and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has cleared the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We now have the necessary decisions from all four states regarding this important energy infrastructure project,” the company said in a statement.

The North Dakota oil industry has high hopes tied to the $3.78 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which would begin in western North Dakota near Stanley and end near Patoka, Ill. It would transport as many as 450,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude with a future capacity of 570,000 barrels per day.

The 358-mile route through North Dakota passes through seven counties: Mountrail, Williams, McKenzie, Dunn, Mercer, Morton and Emmons.

Dakota Access has voluntary easement agreements on 90 percent of its pipeline route to date — 97 percent of the route has been secured in North Dakota, 93 percent in South Dakota, 82 percent in Iowa and 92 percent in Illinois.

The company would offer no further information.

There had been a number of condemnation suits filed in December by the pipeline against North Dakota landowners in Williams, Mountrail, McKenzie, Dunn, Mercer and Morton counties — 23 suits against 140 individuals, banks and a coal mine.

“We reached an agreement with Dakota Access, and most of our clients have signed easements,” Bismarck attorney Derrick Braaten, who represented most of the landowners, said in an email. “We have a few for whom we are wrapping up some individual issues, but should have most of the easements signed by next week. As the clients have signed, Dakota Access has been dismissing the eminent domain lawsuits.”

When the pipeline received North Dakota Public Service Commission approval in January, the company had hoped to begin construction in the spring and be in service late this year.

Should the pipeline go through, it will likely cause a big change in how oil is transported from the state, North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad said.

“My view is, when that pipeline goes into service, there will be a significant shift of barrels from rail transport to the pipeline,” he said.

In January, 500,000 barrels of Bakken crude were transported via rail daily, Kringstad said. Of that, 60 percent or about 300,000 barrels was sent east, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Kringstad said most of the oil moving east is transported to Philadelphia for refining.

About 7 percent of Bakken crude goes by rail to the Gulf Coast for refining but the amount of Bakken product refined there will likely increase if Dakota Access goes into service. Where Dakota Access ends in Illinois, it joins with a former natural gas pipeline that is being converted to transport the crude the rest of the way south.

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Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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