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Enbridge applies to PSC for new oil pipeline

Map courtesy Enbridge This map shows the North Dakota half of Enbridge’s proposed Sandpiper Pipeline, which would run more than 600 miles, from an existing station near Tioga to Superior, Wis.

Enbridge this week officially filed its application with the North Dakota Public Service Commission for a 610-mile pipeline from a station near Tioga to Superior, Wis. The $2.6 billion Sandpiper Pipeline will carry 225,000 barrels per day from the existing Beaver Lodge Station to Clearbrook, Minn., and 375,000 bpd from there just over the border to Superior.

Dedicated to Bakken sweet crude, the line will be 24 inches in diameter from Tioga’s Beaver Lodge station to Clearbrook, and will expand to 30 inches from Clearbrook to Superior.

“It’s a very, very big pipeline,” Public Service Commission Chair Brian Kalk said. “It’s very long — it covers a huge chunk of the state.”

The PSC is currently reviewing the application to make sure it’s complete.

Once it determines it has all the necessary materials, the PSC will work with Enbridge to plan where along the corridor to hold public hearings on the project.

Enbridge spokeswoman Katie Haarsager said the company expects construction to begin late next year and that the line will be in service by early 2016.

Enbridge held open houses this summer along the corridor in Stanley, Minot and Grand Forks. There, Haarsager said, most concerns centered on routing, construction of the pipeline itself and the short- and long-term economic impacts like tax revenue and jobs.

Kalk said with the proposal coming a month after the 20,000-barrel spill from a ruptured pipeline near Tioga, people may be especially on alert about public safety with the Sandpiper.

The pipeline is meant to address dire needs in oil transportation.

“We have higher oil production than we have pipeline capacity,” North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad said.

And with regional production expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, he said, “one of the key things is having an adequate transportation system in place so we can move our crude oil to markets regionally and around the U.S.”

Haarsager said the pipeline will be a huge benefit to the state.

“Everyone is scrambling to come up with good, safe ways to efficiently move that crude from the Bakken to marketers and our shippers are really looking for those export options,” she said.

Enbridge’s application notes that having access to crude reduces reliance on imports from countries that can be unstable or unfriendly to the U.S.