In the burgeoning oil region of North Dakota, a pipeline that will supply crude for a diesel topping plant under construction in the southwest region of the state got the green light this week by regulators.
The three-member Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously approved a 20-mile pipeline project proposed by Casper, WY-based Belle Fourche Pipeline Co.
At 10 inches in diameter, the pipeline would pass through parts of Billings, Dunn and Stark counties. It would run parallel to an existing system where a 6-inch pipeline is already in place.
“This project … will provide 80,000 barrels to the Bakken Oil Express (rail hub),” Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said.
Capacity of the pipeline would be 100,000 barrels of oil per day. The remaining oil would be supplying Dakota Prairie Refining, a 20,000-barrel-per-day diesel topping plant under construction. The Bakken Oil Express rail hub lies southwest of Dickinson alongside the Dakota Prairie Refining site.
The plant is the first refinery to go up in the United States since the 1970s. It’s a joint venture between MDU Resources and Indiana-based Calumet Specialty Products Partners.
The pipeline has an estimated $7.9 million cost and should go up this summer. It would begin at Belle Fourche’s Skunk Hill Station near Belfield and run to the rail hub.
Commissioner Randy Christmann said the building of a refinery in the state was something that he remembered being a topic of discussion for the entire 18 years he was in the Legislature.
Christmann said the Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. project was a small yet important component.
The pipeline will have a monitoring system in place to detect changes in pressure and flow. Workers will be able to watch in 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the company’s monitoring center in Casper, WY.