DAPL Capacity Expansion Begins
Friday, August 6, 2021

On its earnings call this week, Energy Transfer Partners announced the first phase of the planned expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline has been placed into service. 

The 1,176-mile pipeline is now operating with an upsized system capacity of 750,000 barrels per day, up from 570,000 bbl/day previously. The upgrade, which will ultimately allow DAPL to transport up to 1.1 million bbl/day, will likely serve as an economic stimulant to drilling activity in the Bakken.

The pipeline's additional transportation capacity was achieved with more horsepower created by adding pumps at new and existing pump stations along the route. Energy Transfer obtained permission from state regulators to install three new mid-point pump stations, one each in North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois. The North Dakota portion of the project, which is west of Linton in Emmons County, required between $30 and $40 million in upgrades.

DAPL was completed in June 2017 and has been transporting up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day to a terminal in Patoka, Illinois. In June of 2019, Dakota Access LLC submitted its notice of intent in the four states the pipeline crosses that it intended to "optimize" the pipeline with additional pumping stations. Click here to watch a video that explains DAPL's optimization project.

The pipeline was the subject of a lawsuit by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, represented by the extremist group, Earthjustice, which claimed the Missouri River crossing north of the reservation threatens the tribe's water supply. The legal challenge resulted in a ruling by a federal judge that the crossing should have been subjected to additional environmental scrutiny. The judge invalidated DAPL's easement and ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to complete an Environmental Impact Statement, but he stopped short of ordering that the pipeline be shut down while the EIS is completed.

Predictably, the announcement this week that DAPL was moving more crude oil irked Earthjustice and its lawyer, Jan Hasselman.

“Energy Transfer is running an illegal pipeline with no permit and that is subject to federal enforcement action for violating safety laws,” said Hasselman, who is representing the tribe in court. “Expanding operations is a slap in the face to the community. How long before the Biden administration steps in to put an end to this?” 

Click here to view the article in the WDEA Weekly Newsletter