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$1.6B Pipeline Proposed to Move North Dakota Crude Oil

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    $1.6B Pipeline Proposed to Move North Dakota Crude Oil
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images
    Construction workers specializing in pipe-laying work on a section of pipeline on July 25, 2013 outside Watford City, North Dakota. North Dakota is currently experiencing an oil boom, creating thousands of jobs throughout the state and billions of dollars in new state revenue. Local two-lane roads that are used to access drill sites have taken a beating due to the unprecedented amount of traffic. Pipelines are being constructed across the state in part to streamline the movement of oil from drill sites to train depots and oil refineries.

    Two companies are proposing a $1.6 billion pipeline to move North Dakota crude oil, making it the biggest such project in the state since the Dakota Access pipeline that sparked violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement in 2016 and 2017.

    Houston-based Phillips 66 and Casper, Wyoming-based Bridger Pipeline announced the joint venture called Liberty Pipeline on Monday. It's designed to move 350,000 barrels of oil daily from western North Dakota's oil patch to the nation's biggest storage terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. From there, the companies said shippers can access multiple Gulf Coast destinations.

    The route of the 24-inch pipeline has not been disclosed, though the companies said in a statement the project "will utilize existing pipeline and utility corridors and advanced construction techniques to limit environmental and community impact."

    The companies did not immediately return phone calls to provide further details Tuesday.

    North Dakota's Public Service Commission must approve the pipeline's route in the state. Spokeswoman Stacy Eberl said the agency has not seen any plans from the companies, which said in their statement they hope to have the pipeline operational in the first quarter of 2021.

    "The route will have to be determined before they apply to us because we approve the route," Eberl said Tuesday. "Nothing has been filed with us at all."

    The companies' statement said they plan to begin booking shipping commitments from suppliers "at a later date."

    North Dakota is the nation's second-biggest oil producer behind Texas. The state's oil production is pegged at 1.4 million barrels daily.

    The $3.8 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline, which has the capacity to move about half of the oil produced daily in North Dakota, has been moving North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois since June 2017.

    Native American tribes and other groups that feared environmental harm from the pipeline staged large protests that resulted in more than 760 arrests in southern North Dakota over a six-month span beginning in late 2016.

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