Energy Transfer to Expand Dakota Access Capacity

BISMARCK, N.D. – Energy Transfer Partners (ET) plans to nearly double the capacity of Dakota Access Pipeline up to 1.1 MMbpd from a current capacity of more than 500,000 bpd, according to a Wednesday filing with the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

In a letter to the state commission, Dallas-based ET said it plans to optimize the system to increase throughput to meet demand for Bakken crude oil without the need for additional construction on the 30-inch system.

The increase, ET attorney Lawrence Bender wrote, “will allow Dakota Access to meet the growing demand from shippers by optimizing and fully utilizing the existing pipeline infrastructure, without the need to install new pipelines, and without the need for shippers to use less safe and efficient means of transportation, such as rail."

News of ET's planned Dakota Access expansion followed the recent announcement of a $1.6 billion pipeline project to transport Bakken crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast via Cushing, Okla.  Phillips 66 and Bridger Pipeline said last week that they have formed a 50-50 joint venture and made a final investment decision to construct the 1,350-mile Liberty Pipeline, with a planned initial capacity of 350,000 bpd.

June 1 marked the one-year anniversary of commercial operations for the $3.8 Dakota Access project, which originates at the Bakken and Three Forks shale formations in North Dakota and runs 1,172 miles southeast through South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, ending near Patoka, Ill.  From there it can ship to the Gulf Coast through the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline, which ends at Nederland, Texas.

Dakota Access began operations with a capacity of 470,000 bpd, and ET increased that total to about 525,000 bpd with an open season in early 2017.  In October 2018, ET began seeking commitments from shippers to increase capacity up to 570,000 bpd, a target that remained within the 600,000 bpd limit set by its existing state permit.

- P&GJ staff and wire report

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