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ND approves two Bakken pipeline projects

Two pipeline projects have been approved by the North Dakota Public Service Commission after the company involved assured that leak detection will be enhanced.

Following a large saltwater spill, Meadowlark Midstream told state officials that the company would improve leak detection in its transport systems. State commissioners granted approval to a 46-mile crude oil pipeline in Divide and Burke counties as well as the conversion and extension of an existing 10-mile pipeline in Williams County, reports the Forum News Service.

The 46-mile pipeline will carry crude oil produced in the Fortuna area to the Basin Transload Facility located outside Columbus. The transmission line is capable of carrying up to 25,000 barrels per day and could eventually haul 50,000 barrels per day. The smaller project in Williams County will add four miles of new pipeline to an existing gathering line which will transport crude oil from a station in Epping to the Little Muddy Creek Station.

Early this year, Meadowlark Midstream was found responsible for a pipeline spill near Williston. The spill released approximately 3 million gallons of saltwater (also known as brine), a by-product of the oil and gas drilling process, which contaminated waterways including the Blacktail Creek. FNS reports that a company representative told state commissioners that after evaluating the incident, measures had been taken to improve pipeline monitoring. Additionally, the company asserted that operating crude oil pipelines carry less risk due to being constructed with steel instead of composite materials. Also, the crude pipelines have fewer inlets than the saltwater systems, making them easier to monitor.

In a statement, Commission Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak said, “These pipelines are more vital infrastructure to serve this industry long term. These projects will reduce the noise, dust and congestion associated with truck transport of large volumes of crude. During the hearings, we had extensive discussions with the company and the public about reclamation, leak detection and response.” She added that since the spill earlier this year, the company has committed itself to restoring the impacted land and will have extensive leak detection measures in place, as well as a more detailed leak response plan. To read the original article, click here.

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