How the Dakota Access Pipeline Benefits Its Four Host StatesMarch 12, 2020
In the United States, we consume approximately 800 million barrels of crude oil per day. And 570,000 barrels of this crude oil are transported every day via the Dakota Access Pipeline — or DAPL. The underground pipeline was completed in 2017 as a part of the Bakken pipeline and runs from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa and finally to Illinois — a total of 1,172 miles. Its design and construction cost $3.78 billion.
Energy Transfer Operating L.P.
The developer behind the Dakota Access Pipeline is Energy Transfer Operating L.P., which operates more than 86,000 miles of pipeline across a total of 38 states. It’s an all-American company that promotes American values, employs American workers, and uses American materials and ingenuity to achieve its mission of safe energy delivery to fuel homes and businesses around the country.
Because Energy Transfer is committed to safety, as well as to leaving the smallest possible environmental footprint, it employs numerous knowledgeable professionals to design its pipelines. These professionals include engineers, geologists, environmental scientists and wildlife biologists, amongst others.
The Benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the Local Community
There are several distinct benefits of the Dakota Access Pipeline for the local community.
The local economy has grown since the beginning of the Dakota Access Pipeline project. During the construction phase, between 8,000 and 12,000 local jobs were created in the heavy construction industry. Moreover, as a result of workers visiting local businesses, the local economy flourished even further.
Energy Transfer contributes millions in property taxes annually in each of the four host states. This is revenue the states can invest in the local community, for example in emergency services, schools and hospitals, amongst other things. The company has also donated $15 million to the State of North Dakota — plus, it’s gifted philanthropic support amounting to over $11.2 million across all four states.
Furthermore, local landowners receive production royalties on the oil that’s transported via the DAPL. That’s approximately 40 percent of the total crude oil production out of the Bakken oil fields.
The pipeline has also helped increase the output of crude oil in the Bakken formation, which in turn has made the local economy more robust. And because the pipeline provides a safe yet low-cost form of transportation for operators, it has improved drilling economics.
Finally, for the entire country the increased production from the Bakken oil fields has resulted in improved energy security, as well as a lowered trade deficit and a bolstered economic growth.
The Dakota Access Pipeline’s Design, Construction and Monitoring Meets or Exceeds Regulatory Requirements
Because Energy Transfer Partners is committed to the safety of the communities and environment that surround their pipelines, it designed the Dakota Access Pipeline to be highly technologically advanced. With the latest in engineering innovation and state-of-the-art construction methods, the pipeline meets or exceeds all applicable state and federal environmental and safety regulations.
The DAPL’s design and development process encompassed a complex series of reviews and subsequent approvals by the four host states’ state regulation authorities and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In fact, those involved in the construction of the pipeline even went above and beyond the regulatory requirements.
For example, although only 10 percent of mainline girth welds had to be tested, 100 percent of girths were tested using ultrasound or x-ray. In addition, in agricultural areas, the pipeline was buried two feet deeper than the minimum requirement. Furthermore, all mainline valves are equipped with motorized actuators that allow for the remote closing of the individual segments of the pipe if needed.
It’s also interesting to note that the pipeline has no impact on the local drinking water supplies or groundwater. Additionally, it passes below Lake Oahe at a depth of 95 feet or more below the bottom of the riverbed — much deeper than the other pipelines that cross underneath the lake — which minimizes the risk of contamination of the lake water in the event of any issue.
The DAPL is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by an advanced computer system, as well as ground and aerial control and in-line inspection tools. What’s more: A year after the completion of the DAPL, it was thoroughly inspected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose report concluded that the pipeline does not pose any significant threat to the local surroundings and environment.
Increasing the Capacity of the Dakota Access Pipeline
In June 2019, Energy Transfer announced plans to adapt the Dakota Access Pipeline so it can accommodate increased capacity. This project is expected to cost between $30 to $40 million.
The additional capacity can be achieved relatively easily, without installing any additional pipe or performing more main-line construction. Instead, more horsepower will be added to the existing pump stations, and three new mid-point pump stations will be built. To mitigate noise levels and safeguard the local environment, the pump stations will be completely sheltered within isolated structures. As before, Energy Transfer will work closely with the authorities to ensure that the project will continue to meet or exceed all applicable regulations.
As a result of the optimization of the DAPL, the surrounding communities are expected to thrive even more. Moreover, the state taxes generated from the three pump stations will significantly benefit the relevant states, which will be able to utilize the funds for public services such as schools and hospitals.