Governor Jack Dalrymple is hosting a pipeline summit today, and there’s some good news for those concerned about oil shipments crowding the nation’s roads and rails. According to a press release sent out by Dalrymple’s office, by the end of 2014 “the state’s capacity to ship crude oil to market by pipeline is expected to increase to 783,000 barrels per day.”
That’s up 173 percent from five years ago when the state’s capacity was at 286,000 barrels per day.
And, according to Dalrymple, “Pipeline and refinery projects that are proposed for completion by late 2016 would more than double the state’s current oil takeaway capacity to about 1.4 million barrels per day.”
That’s an impressive number, and it’s worth remembering that it isn’t just oil capacity that has been built out. Gas capture capacity has also increased by 381 percent in the last five years thanks to the expansion of infrastructure in the state with more to come. We’ve yet to see the impact of the recent expansion of the Hess gas plant in Tioga on gas capture numbers. Regulators expect that impact to drop flaring from over 30 percent to just over 20 percent.
That’s a big deal.
Of course, over the last five years oil production in North Dakota has increased 564 percent. Pipeline buildout hasn’t kept up, which is why so much oil has gone to shipping by rail, an issue much in the headlines of late due to oil train derailments.
So there’s still a lot of catching up to do.
North Dakota Democrats, meanwhile, are emulating President Barack Obama in his anti-pipeline activism. “Try as they might, the Governor’s Pipeline Summit cannot cover up the fact that under one-party rule, North Dakota’s pipeline oversight system has become a confusing bureaucratic disaster,” Democrat PSC candidates Tyler Axness and Todd Reisenauer, along with Agriculture Commissioner candidate Ryan Taylor, said in a joint press release sent out today.
Of course, Democrats are smarting a bit after a generally pro-Democrat labor union has decided to endorse Axness and Reisenauer’s Republican opponents over the pipeline issue.