Completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline is expected to fundamentally change the direction of North Dakota oil.
The “interstate highway” for Bakken crude will take barrels off the rail cars headed east-west and take them south to refineries on the Gulf Coast, where experts expect oil producers will find higher prices and lower transportation costs.
“It is going to certainly shake up the existing transportation modes,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.
The $3.8 billion, four-state oil pipeline will connect the state’s oil fields to a pipeline in Illinois that leads to refineries in Texas. It could ultimately carry up to 570,000 barrels a day. For months, construction stalled as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and its allies filed legal challenges and protested in southern Morton County, expressing concerns that a leak may contaminate the tribe’s water supply.