Last year marked the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a revolutionary project that resulted in one of the most prominent North American oil and gas pipelines. Now, because of the increased pressure that project has created, another pipeline could be in the works for the region.
The Elk Creek Pipeline
The Elk Creek Pipeline is a 900-mile project proposed by Oneok, who predicts that the project will cost $1.2 billion. The pipeline would stretch from Sidney, Montana to Bushton, Kansas. Not only would it alleviate pressure and accommodate the increase in production seen in North Dakota, but it would also reduce the wasteful flaring of excess gas.
Oneok has said that this new North American gas and oil pipeline would transport nearly a quarter of a million barrels of natural gas liquids daily. The company’s CEO, Terry Spencer, said that the pipeline is a critical need for producers who have increased production in the six months since the Dakota Access Pipeline began operating. The producers face requirements when it comes to meeting natural gas capture targets in the Williston Basin, which the Elk Creek Pipeline would assist with.
The director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, Justin Kringstad, has been upfront in saying Elk Creek and similar projects are needed to transport the natural gas liquids that have been growing exponentially. Natural gases that need transporting from the area include propane, ethane, and butane. Kringstad has stated that currently, there are approximately 50,000 barrels of natural gas transported each day because of a lack of pipelines.
Status Of The Pipeline
As of now, the pipeline project is still in the developmental stage. It has yet to receive regulatory approval from any federal, state, and local agencies. This will pose the biggest hurdle for the project because there will be more scrutiny and attention placed on it thanks to the Dakota Access Pipeline. If the project progresses as scheduled, company officials predict that it will be complete by the end of 2019.
At the very least, the industry will be watching to see how it plays out. This is the first North American gas and oil pipeline that will impact the area since the Dakota Access Pipeline. Many have speculated that because of the media attention placed on that project, future projects will be subject to even more regulation than before. The Elk Creek Pipeline would likely serve as the first true test, taking a pulse of the industry moving forward.
The Elk Creek Pipeline would not actually cut across North Dakota. Instead, it would connect to existing pipelines, located in the northwestern portion of the state. In addition to aiding production in North Dakota, the new pipeline would focus on the Rocky Mountains, moving natural gas out of that region.
Kringstad also stated that new pipelines would reduce flaring. If there is a focus on environmental issues in the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Elk Creek pipeline could alleviate many of them.