North Dakota Approves High-Capacity Oil Pipeline

Enbridge Energy Sandpiper Pipeline Would Transport Crude Oil From Bakken Fields To Superior

Above, rail cars transporting oil from the Bakken fields. Photo: Nomadic Lass (CC-BY-SA).

North Dakota approved what would be the highest-capacity crude oil pipeline from the state’s Bakken oil fields on Wednesday.

The Enbridge Energy Sandpiper pipeline would eventually cover 616 miles from Beaver Lodge Station in North Dakota to the Enbridge oil terminal in Superior. Enbridge Spokeswoman Katie Haarsager said the pipeline will cost $2.6 billion. Marathon Petroleum will pay for about a third of the cost.

“This is definitely our largest investment that we’ve made and the biggest pipeline that we plan to construct,” she said. “About 225,000 barrels per day capacity will really make a big difference in taking trucks off the road and reducing some of the train traffic that people are seeing throughout the Minnesota-Wisconsin area.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Haarsager said Sandpiper’s capacity would replace 2,000 tanker trainloads per day. She said they still need approval from Minnesota and Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission.

“We’re hoping to see both Minnesota and Wisconsin approvals come through by the end of the year which would be able to see an early 2015 construction period,” she said.

Enbridge North Dakota System Director Bob Steede says the Bakken oil won’t stop in Superior.

“From Superior you get into the entire Enbridge mainline network,” he said. “So we’ve got a number of expansions downstream of Superior.”

Steede says the destinations will be refineries in Chicago, Oklahoma, Michigan and eastern Canada.

Sandpiper will create 3,000 construction jobs, 1,500 in North Dakota and 1,500 in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Construction will begin in North Dakota next month.