Governor Jack Dalrymple today told pipeline industry leaders that he supports plans to expand the state's network of large, interstate oil and natural gas pipelines and in-state gathering systems. Dalrymple said expanding the state's network of gathering pipelines will continue to reduce truck traffic on North Dakota roadways, reduce natural gas flaring and reduce roadway dust. Expanding the interstate pipeline system also will make more markets available for North Dakota's oil and natural gas.
Dalrymple encouraged greater development of the state's oil and gas pipelines while hosting the Governor's Pipeline Summit at the National Energy Center of Excellence on the campus of Bismarck State College. The Governor's Pipeline Summit brought together more than 100 pipeline industry leaders, energy industry representatives and state and local officials.
"Historically, our oil and gas production has exceeded our pipeline capacity, but we are well on our way to overcoming that long-standing challenge," Dalrymple said. "We continue to expand our pipeline capacity so that we can significantly reduce truck traffic on our roads, reduce flaring, other impacts and at the same time expand our market opportunities."
In March, North Dakota surpassed Alaska to become the second largest oil-producing state in the nation. The state produced 18.3 million barrels in April for a daily production average of about 609,000 barrels. The energy industry also has significantly increased its capture and processing of natural gas. Three years ago, North Dakota produced 243 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Today, the state produces more than 650 million cubic feet of natural gas daily.
Pipeline developers have responded to increased oil and gas production in a big way. Between 2011 and 2013, more than $3 billion will be invested in new or expanded natural gas processing and transportation systems in North Dakota. In the same period, North Dakota's capacity to ship oil to out-of-state markets is expected to increase from 413,000 barrels per day to 758,000 barrels per day. In 2015, if all proposed projects are completed, the state's interstate pipelines would have the capacity to carry about 1.5 million barrels of oil to market every day.
The pipeline industry also continues to expand its network of gathering pipelines which transfer oil and gas to local processing plants and also feed into larger, interstate pipelines for shipment to out-of-state markets.
Dalrymple highlighted Bridger's Four Bears Pipeline which was completed in January. The 77-mile long gathering line transfers oil from wells in McKenzie and Dunn counties, eliminating between 50,000 and 75,000 truck traffic miles every day.
Dalrymple thanked the pipeline industry for investing in the state's transportation infrastructure and he commended North Dakota's landowners for making it possible to expand the state's pipeline capacity.
"By reducing traffic on our roadways, these gathering lines play a major role in our commitment to help address the impacts created by rapid development," Dalrymple said. "We will continue to work with the pipeline industry and many other stakeholders who are committed to the responsible development of our energy resources."