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  • Pipelines

    Pipelines play a critical role in everyone’s lives and are essential to our industry and businesses. Our nation has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world, which is responsible for delivering our nation’s crude oil, natural gas, and petroleum products, including crude oil, gasoline, jet fuel, and home heating oil in a safe, reliable, efficient and economic manner.

    Oil & Gas Pipelines

    North Dakota’s Pipeline Infrastructure

    North Dakota currently has an oil pipeline capacity of 827,000 barrels per day in transmission lines, or the larger pipelines that carry oil from the state to markets across the country. In addition to these larger transmission lines, the state also has thousands of miles of “gathering” lines.

    Gathering lines are smaller pipelines that collect natural gas or oil from the well site and transport them to processing facilities or hubs to be loaded into rail cars or transmission pipelines. Gathering lines may also be used to transport produced water from a well site to a licensed disposal facility.

    Why Pipelines?

    Pipeline infographicPipelines remain the most efficient and economical way of transporting liquid petroleum products. Pipelines are also the safest way of transporting petroleum products. A barrel of crude oil or petroleum product will safely reach its destination 99.999 percent of the time.

    Pipelines are also important in solving many of the infrastructure challenges in North Dakota. A pipeline with a capacity of 100,000 barrels per day can take 500 trucks off the road and displace 140 rail cars every day.

    Pipelines remain the only economically feasible way of transporting natural gas. Unlike crude oil that can be hauled by rail or truck, natural gas can only be transported using pipelines. A lack of gathering infrastructure has led to flaring.


    Pipeline challenges

    About 41 percent of the crude produced within the state is transported by pipeline, while 52 percent is transported by rail, 6 percent is refined in the state and 1 percent is trucked to Canada where it is transferred to Canadian pipelines.[1]

    North Dakota currently ranks as the second largest oil producer in the nation, producing more than 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, but only has 827,000 barrels per day of capacity. Furthermore, most pipelines that do access North Dakota go south toward the Gulf of Mexico rather than the refineries on the east and west coasts that are better equipped to process light, sweet crude.


    Solutions & Future Outlook

    North Dakota’s oil and gas industry is dedicated to building pipelines that will safely transport our natural resources to market. Pipeline capacity in recent years has more than doubled since 2010 from 337,000 to 827,000 barrels today and four proposed pipelines, including the Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline, Energy Transfer Partner’s Dakota Access Pipeline, and Transcanada’s Keystone and Upland Pipelines, would add an additional million barrels per day to key markets across the U.S. and Canada.

    To capture more natural gas and reduce flaring, producers plan to invest more than $1.2 billion in gathering and processing infrastructure within the next year alone. These investments will help both the state and industry reach goals of greater capture and less flaring.



     [1] As of May 2015: https://ndpipelines.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/ndpa-july-10-2015-update.pdf