Regulators approve new oil pipeline in western North Dakota

Bismarck, North Dakota (AP) September 2010

A new oil pipeline through three western North Dakota counties will help deliver crude to at least three regional markets and will reduce truck traffic on the region’s roads, state regulators said last week.

North Dakota’s Public Service Commission endorsed a route for the 12-inch pipeline, which will stretch for 77 miles through Billings, Dunn and McKenzie counties. Bridger Pipeline LLC hopes to begin construction soon and finish by next summer on the $29 million project.

The company said the pipeline will be capable of carrying at least 60,000 barrels of oil daily. It should reduce traffic on area roads by about 300 truckloads each day, the company said.

The pipeline will reach from a point north of U.S. Highway 23, about 15 miles west of the Four Bears Bridge on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, to a connection with another line about 18 miles northwest of Dickinson, commission filings say.

Bridger is part of the True Cos., based in Casper, Wyo. Kevin Cramer, chairman of North Dakota’s Public Service Commission, said the pipeline may be able to link with the proposed Keystone XL line, which is being built to transport oil sands production in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas.

“There’s great optimism in the oil industry that (Keystone XL) will, in fact, be built, and Bridger is trying to get ahead of the curve and perhaps get some North Dakota crude into that XL line,” Cramer said.

Gulf Coast refiners sometimes pay a premium for the type of high-quality crude that North Dakota produces, he said.