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Dakota Access Pipeline

The operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline is planning to expand capacity, though without adding more pipeline. The project is to include a new pumping station in Emmons County.

The company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline asked North Dakota regulators on Friday for approval to build a pumping station in Emmons County to help boost the pipeline’s capacity.

The pump station planned about 5 miles west of Linton would consist of five 6,000-horsepower motors and pumps inside a building, according to documents filed by Dallas-based Energy Transfer. The building would be on about 21 acres of property − about half of which is within the pipeline corridor previously approved by North Dakota’s Public Service Commission. Energy Transfer is seeking to amend the corridor and route.

The $3.8 billion pipeline that’s been moving Bakken oil to Illinois since June 2017 is moving about 570,000 barrels per day. Energy Transfer wants to increase capacity to 1.1 billion barrels, which is close to the state’s daily oil production, to meet growing demand. The project is expected to cost the company up to $40 million and be complete by February 2021, according to company attorney Lawrence Bender.

“The current maximum capacity of the DAPL is oversubscribed by shippers holding or seeking long-term transportation contracts,” Bender wrote in documents filed by the company.

The capacity expansion would be done through an increase in horsepower — not additional pipeline. But the project is to include new pumping stations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois, along with work at a tank terminal near Johnsons Corner in northwestern North Dakota. That work is to include the addition of two 6,000-horsepower pumps and a 300,000 barrel-capacity tank.

Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said earlier this week that no state permission is needed if the company does not plan to build outside of the project footprint, and that the work planned at the tank terminal doesn’t require approval as long as the company follows conditions previously set by the PSC. The work in Emmons County will require the company to buy new property.

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The work will not impact any archaeological or cultural sites, according to Perennial Environmental Services, which did a study for Energy Transfer. The company also maintains it will not impact any endangered or threatened wildlife species.

It does not appear Energy Transfer’s plan will require any federal permission. Approval is not required if the pipeline continues to function within its given maximum allowable operating pressure, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Energy Transfer spokeswoman Lisa Dillinger said the project will not change the pipeline pressure.

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Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or Blake.Nicholson@bismarcktribune.com

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