PSC says ‘Yes’ to 77-mile oil pipelineBISMARCK — Construction will begin the first week in October on a 77-mile crude oil pipeline project spanning McKenzie, Dunn and Billings counties after the state’s Public Service Commission gave the final OK during a meeting Wednesday afternoon.
BISMARCK — Construction will begin the first week in October on a 77-mile crude oil pipeline project spanning McKenzie, Dunn and Billings counties after the state’s Public Service Commission gave the final OK during a meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Bridger Pipeline, LLC received the stamp of approval from the PSC to construct Four Bears Pipeline, a 12-inch thick steel pipeline system capable of handling 60,000 barrels a day with the possibility of moving to 110,000 barrels a day.
The pipeline would begin about 15 miles west of the Four Bears Bridge in McKenzie County, just north of state Highway 23, according to PSC documents.
The pipeline’s southern end would then connect into Bridger’s existing Heart River Pipeline at Skunk Hill Junction located about 18 miles northwest of Dickinson, or about 12 miles northeast of Belfield, according to the documents.
The pipeline would receive barrels of oil at a location 15 miles west of New Town and pump it south toward Skunk Hill Junction, an existing junction between the Little Missouri Pipeline and the Belle Fourche Pipeline about 10 miles northwest of Dickinson, said Bridger Pipeline Vice President Tad True during a public hearing in Killdeer Sept. 9.
Two truck unloading facilities will also be constructed, one on Highway 23 and the other on Highway 200, True said.
Gathering systems would also be attached to the pipeline, including the opportunity to tie into the TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline, PSC Chairman Kevin Cramer said Wednesday.
While the project would not increase area export capacity, it would bring oil closer to production facilities, meaning decreased truck traffic.
True said the company has estimated Highway 85 and Highway 2 truck traffic will be reduced by about 150 truckloads per day, eventually increasing to about 300 truckloads per day.
Not only will the pipeline equate to traffic relief, it will provide transport for oil extracted from the Bakken Formation in McKenzie, Dunn and Mountrail counties to three potential markets — Guernsey, Wyo., Clearbrook, Minn. and Mandan, Cramer said.
Since the initial application filed July 23, changes and increases in project plans are seemingly indicative of a booming business.
“By the time they applied for the permit, it was a 12-inch pipeline which is illustrative of how fast the demand and how fast the supply is growing in the production levels,” Cramer said. “As I was reading the order on this one, I was struck by how quickly this one has come around.”
PSC Commissioner Brian Kalk said the project is a “good example of a company doing their homework long before they get to the hearing.”
If constructed as one project with a single crew, it would add about 50 workers, of which 40 to 50 percent would be hired from the regional labor pool, Cramer said.
“However they did testify that the company anticipates using four separate construction crews which, of course, would increase the total number of workers at any one time to between 150 to 200 and obviously shorten the construction timeline,” Cramer said.
Estimated to cost about $29 million, operations could begin at the end of March if all goes as planned, True said.
Bear Paw Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of ONEOK Partners, LP, is also one step closer to constructing a natural gas processing plant about 4.5 miles northeast of Watford City, capable of handling about 100 million cubic feet per day.
The PSC approved Bear Paw Energy’s application Wednesday, Kalk said.
The project is estimto cost $150 million to $175 million, Cramer said.
A public hearing will be held on the project in Watford City on October 21 at 10 a.m. CST. The location has yet to be determined, Kalk said.