Enbridge Energy has notified stockholders they’re going to proceed with a $2.5 billion dollar pipeline expansion. Mike Simonson reports.

The expansion will run 600 miles from the booming North Dakota Bakken Oil Fields to the company’s Superior facility.

Five years ago, the Bakken oil sands produced 200,000 barrels of light crude oil a day. Now it’s up to 700,000 barrels a day, and it 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 says this expansion, dubbed “Sandpiper,” would more than double the 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,” she said.

Little says this 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 says 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.
Source: Superior Telegram

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