Enbridge announces $2.5B pipeline expansion from North Dakota to SuperiorThe Sandpiper pipeline could be in service by early 2016.
By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio
Enbridge Energy has notified stockholders that it will proceed with a $2.5 billion pipeline expansion running 600 miles from the booming North Dakota Bakken oil fields to its Superior facility.
Five years ago, the Bakken oil sands produced 20,000 barrels of light crude oil a day. Now it’s up to 700,000 barrels a day and is expected to reach 1.2 million barrels a day in the next five years. Enbridge can pipe 225,000 gallons of that crude oil a day to Superior and points south to Chicago, Detroit and Toledo.
Enbridge Energy Partners spokeswoman Lorraine Little said the expansion, dubbed “Sandpiper,” would more than double their capacity from North Dakota. “Because of that increasing supply of availability, you’ve got refineries in other parts of the U.S. who are interested in taking that light crude oil. So these projects really represent that moving where the production is happening. So moving that oil then to the markets that need it.”
Little said the pipeline project, along with increased oil sands production, will shift supply from Middle Eastern and South America to North America.
“So you might think of it a bit as re-piping America. So, it’s complicated, but it’s exciting to see that,” she said. “The ability for North America to maybe someday achieve energy independence or at least rely on North American sources for crude oil.”
Little said the next step is to meet with communities along the pipeline's path and begin the permitting process. While she doesn’t expect lots of public opposition, she does expect lots of comment before they get approval.
The Sandpiper pipeline could be in service by early 2016.
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