Gov. Jack Dalrymple today kicked off the first meeting of the Pipeline Technology Working Group by welcoming its members and directing them to focus their work on identifying the latest available technologies for enhanced monitoring and control of oil and gas pipelines.
"Advancements in technology offer more opportunities to enhance the safe management of pipeline operations than ever before," Dalrymple said. "We expect pipeline operators in North Dakota to use best practices and that may mean going above and beyond existing requirements to monitor and control pipeline flows."
Dalrymple formed the 15-member advisory panel in December. The technical working group includes private-sector engineers as well as representatives from the North Dakota Public Service Commission, the North Dakota State University Center for Surface Protection, the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and representatives from pipeline companies operating in the state.
Members of the working group today discussed current pipeline operation standards, including the monitoring of pipeline pressures and flows. The group also discussed current standards for the operation of pipelines in populated areas and environmentally sensitive areas. The group's final recommendations will be made available to landowners, legislators, regulators, local officials and the general public.
To enhance pipeline and rail safety, Dalrymple continues to work with the state's congressional delegation, state officials, industry leaders and with federal agencies including PHMSA, which regulates the operation of oil pipelines and rail transportation. The federal agency also partners with states, including North Dakota's Public Service Commission, to regulate natural gas pipelines.
In meetings with PHMSA officials, Dalrymple has urged them to review their oversight protocols and determine whether federal pipeline regulations offer ample protection.
"Pipelines are essential to the safe and efficient shipment of North Dakota's oil and gas resources, but their operation requires a total commitment to safety," Dalrymple said.
Members of the working group on pipeline technology are:
Niles Hushka - Chief Executive Officer, KLJ engineering
Mike Seminary - Business Development Manager, Houston Engineering
Allan Beshore - Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
Lynn Helms - Director, North Dakota Dept. of Mineral Resources
Sandi Tabor - former North Dakota Transmission Authority Director, Director of Government Relations, KLJ engineering
Gordon Bierwagen - North Dakota State University Center for Surface Protection, Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials
Wayne Armenta - Workforce, Safety and Field Operations, ONEOK Partners
Kari Cutting - Vice President, North Dakota Petroleum Council
Arti Bhatia - Director of Pipeline and Corridor Risk Management, Alliance Pipeline
Patrick Fahn - Director of Compliance and Competitive Markets, North Dakota Public Service Commission
Scott Fradenburgh - Vice President of Operations, WBI Energy
Brent Horton - Director of Engineering for North Dakota, Enbridge Pipeline
Mike McGrath - Pipeline Safety, Performance and Compliance, Alliance Pipeline
Tad True - Vice President, Bridger and Belle Fourche Pipeline
Justin Kringstad - Director, North Dakota Pipeline Authority
Pipelines from the Williston Basin have the capacity to ship 583,000 barrels of oil per day. Three major pipeline projects, scheduled to be completed by late 2014, are expected to increase shipping capacity by 200,000 barrels of oil per day. Other pipeline projects, including the proposed Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline which would transfer as much as 225,000 barrel of oil per day to eastern U.S. markets, are in various stages of development.
"Shipping Bakken crude by rail requires the same uncompromised commitment to safety and we will continue working with our congressional delegation, the federal government and the railroad industry for improved rail safety as well," Dalrymple said.
PHMSA should finalize as soon as possible new standards for rail tank cars to incorporate improved safety features, Dalrymple said. The governor is also urging the railway industry to provide more information about its emergency communication systems and operational protocols involving trains passing through populated areas while carrying hazardous materials.