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Power company plan could speed Bakken pipeline progress

BISMARCK -- A Duluth, Minn., energy company announced today it plans to create an energy corridor that could efficiently transport oil and natural gas produced in North Dakota and reduce natural gas flaring.

ALLETE, an energy company that has a 465-mile electrical transmission line from central North Dakota to Duluth, said it plans to work with other energy companies to locate pipelines along its existing right-of-way.

ALLETE officials made the announcement from the North Dakota Capitol this morning with Gov. Jack Dalrymple and members of the EmPower North Dakota Commission.

No specific projects have been proposed, but the energy corridor could accommodate several pipelines for transporting oil or natural gas, as well as wastewater and carbon sequestered from fossil fuel.

Pipeline companies have to obtain right-of-way from private landowners. The idea is that locating pipelines adjacent to the transmission line would be more efficient and less disruptive to landowners than establishing several different rights-of-way.

"We think it can bring a certain amount of efficiency and ease landowner fatigue here in North Dakota," said ALLETE President, Chairman and CEO Alan Hodnik.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple thanked company officials for their "tremendous vision" and said he hopes the corridor will help the state meet its goal of reducing natural gas flaring.

"I would like to see this corridor become part of the achievement of a large natural gas pipeline from the Bakken region to the east," Dalrymple said. "I think the odds of that taking place are greatly enhanced by this concept."

ALLETE has a 250-kilovolt line, purchased in 2009, that transmits electricity from the lignite-fired Young Generation Station in Center, N.D., and the nearby Bison Wind Energy Center to Duluth. The company is working to extend its right-of-way 60 miles to the west to the Bakken region.