The Political Obstruction Of Pipelines Is Killing North Dakota's Oil Industry


For years now we’ve watched as the political left has done everything in their power to obstruct much needed pipeline infrastructure in America.

The Obama administration’s endless bureaucratic filibuster of the Keystone XL pipeline – which would have capacity for 100,000 barrels per day of North Dakota crude – is the most obvious example, but there are others too.

The Sandpiper line would run from Tioga, ND through Minnesota to Wisconsin and would take as much as 250,000 barrels per day. It has received regulatory approval in North Dakota, but in Minnesota has been met with lawsuits and political obstructionism from environmental activists.

The Dakota Access line would run from northwest North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, carrying as much as 450,000 barrels per day. But it, too, has been met with furious opposition from environmental activists.

With North Dakota producing about 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, it’s clear these three projects alone would have a significant impact on transporting the state’s output. A much needed impact, because while these projects remain mired in a political/bureaucratic quagmire oil by rail isn’t cutting it for the state:

Several East Coast refiners are losing interest in Bakken crude, instead preferring to import oil from abroad to use in their refineries. According to Reuters, it is now cheaper for East Coast refiners to import oil from South America, Africa, or the Middle East, than it is to buy oil from North Dakota. The transit costs of moving crude by rail from North Dakota across the country tips the balance in favor of foreign oil.

Oil prices are what they are, but the impact of lower prices wouldn’t be nearly so severe were it not for political obstruction of pipeline infrastructure. And, for that matter, political obstruction of efforts to repeal America’s absurd prohibition on exporting crude oil.