Facts about the Dakota Access Pipeline

What is the Dakota Access Pipeline?

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 30” pipeline measuring 1,172 miles. Running underground since June 2017, it transports 570,000 barrels of light sweet crude oil each day from Bakken/Three Forks, North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. Almost three years later, it has operated without major incidents, given back extensively to the surrounding community, led to the creation of many highly skilled jobs, and created huge opportunities for North Dakota and the adjacent states.

Here are the facts you need to know:

The Dakota Access Pipeline helped increase Bakken/Three Forks’ oil output.

The Dakota Access Pipeline moves about 40% of the region’s oil output each day and has lowered operating costs while providing a safer way to move resources than either train or truck.  In its first year of operation, the pipeline already transported over 500,000 barrels each day and had safely and successfully transported over 182.5 million barrels of oil.

This year, Energy Transfer, owner of the Dakota Access Pipeline, aims to increase capacity to as much as 1.1 million barrels per day, further creating opportunities for energy producers and engineers while reducing costs for consumers and making North Dakota an even more integral part of America’s energy grid. This increase in capacity will have minimal impact on landowners and does not increase the risk of leaks, spills, or threats to the safety of employees.

Trucks and trains are considerably worse for the environment than pipelines, making pipeline construction the best option for the region. Through this construction, the pipeline will be able to give more back to the surrounding communities through employment opportunities, gifts, taxes, and more.

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline created highly skilled American jobs.

Between eight and twelve thousand people were hired to build the Dakota Access Pipeline, including electricians, mechanics, pipefitters, and heavy equipment operators. This had a ripple effect in the local communities, where this talent spent their earnings at restaurants, in hotels, and making use of other services.

The Bakken formation provides jobs to over 80,000 North Dakotans as well, and the pipeline has helped this number increase over the last several years. A proposed optimization and expansion will further improve opportunities for the region, and gifts that Energy Transfer has given to surrounding universities will help ensure that local talent is highly skilled and able to fill these roles as they arise.

The Dakota Access Pipeline gives back to the surrounding communities.

The Dakota Access Pipeline pays millions of dollars annually in property taxes to support hospitals, schools, emergency services, and other resources in the surrounding communities.

The Dakota Access Pipeline also pays significant royalties from production to landowners, the states, and Native Americans holding gas and oil leases on reservation property.

Energy Transfer LP also donated $3 million to the city of Mandan, North Dakota to pay for improvements to their public library and parks, as well as $10,000 to renovate their ballpark. The Morton Mandan Public Library will receive a new atrium, restrooms, updated windows, and parking for the bookmobile, while Dykshoorn Park will be seeing fence construction and the creation of a pavilion for Heritage Park as part of a downtown revitalization plan. 

Additionally, as a goodwill gesture toward the people who would likely be first to respond in the event of a pipeline emergency, the organization donated $20,000 to the emergency response departments of every county the pipeline runs through each year, totaling over $360,000, giving each county discretion to spend these funds where most needed, with a long-term plan to make over $1 million in donations to 50 counties across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. These have been used to purchase vehicles, maximize resources, expand equipment capacity, train personnel, and upgrade technology. 

Energy Transfer has also donated over $250,000 to FFA organizations across all four states to benefit local students by sponsoring FFA conferences and funding curriculum. At these events, FFA students have the opportunity to work on their career skills, hear from speakers, meet leaders in the agricultural industry, and see their achievements recognized, which has a powerful ripple effect on their surrounding communities for years to come. Additional donations included $185,000 to local 4H groups and $10,000 to the North Dakota High School Rodeo.

Energy Transfer also made its single largest donation – $5 million – to the University of Mary, located in Bismarck, North Dakota. This donation will help build a new 18,200 square foot engineering school and launch a workforce development program, helping Bismarck train much-needed professional talent. Students can complete a bachelor’s degree in civil, chemical, electrical, petroleum, or mechanical engineering, making it possible to cultivate, nurture, and retain the talent needed to operate the Dakota Access Pipeline in-state for decades to come.

Additional donations included $400,000 to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Fish & Game Trust, $20,000 to the North Dakota State Historical Society Foundation, $15,000 to the North Dakota Peace Officers Association, $10,000 to the Dakota Territory Sheriff’s Association, $7,500 to the Rock Valley Police Department’s K-9 Unit, $5,000 to the Missouri Valley Fire Chiefs’ Conerence, $5,000 to the North Dakota Highway Patrol State Conference, $5,000 to the North Dakota Simmental Association, $5,000 to the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, $5,000 to the Home on the Range Foundation, and $1,000 to the Ottumwa High School Sports Cards Sponsorship.

On top of all of these donations, Energy Transfer also made a $15 million donation to the state of North Dakota to offset service expenses associated with the construction of the pipeline.

Read more about Energy Transfer and Dakota Access Pipeline’s contribution back the community here: https://daplpipelinefacts.com/Community.html

The Dakota Access Pipeline is extremely safe.

After an extensive review and approval by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as regulators in both North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, the Dakota Access Pipeline was built to provide safe, reliable, and environmentally sound transportation for crude oil to Americans. Furthermore, the Dakota Access Pipeline essentially runs along the exact same path as the Northern Border Pipeline, which has existed beneath Lake Oahe without incident for over three decades. 

The Dakota Access Pipeline is monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year through a comprehensive computer system providing supervision and data analysis. Through aerial patrols, in-line inspections, ground patrols, and remote valves, among many other tools, the pipeline is able to ensure that the surrounding communities and our customers receive crude oil as safely and efficiently as possible.

The pipeline has been extensively tested as well, with the mainline girth welds examined by x-ray ultrasound in full, rather than just at the mandatory 10% minimum. The pipeline is significantly further underground than the minimum amount required in agricultural areas, and individual segments can be remotely closed and isolated in the event of an incident, minimizing impact in record time.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is also paying for ongoing research into its safety and the long-term well being of the surrounding communities.

For example, Energy Transfer has funded a five-year research project at Iowa State University to assess the effects of pipelines on farmland, studying its impact on crops and soil, to determine if the pipeline may have any effect on the long-term yields or productivity. This research will help farmers better understand how to restore soil and crops after future construction for other industry or government projects, and is particularly of value to Iowa State University, as the Dakota Access Pipeline crosses approximately 18 acres of the school’s farmland.

The Dakota Access Pipeline was built with surrounding communities in mind.

Over the course of conceptualizing the Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer hosted 559 meetings with tribes, community leaders, business owners, civic and agricultural organizations, and elected officials to ensure that the pipeline would serve these populations in the most thoughtful possible way.

The organization was part of 43 open houses, public meetings, and regulatory hearings, as well as hundreds of meetings with regulatory and permitting agencies in order to solve any potential issues before they arose.

Solely in North Dakota, over 140 changes were made to the route for the pipeline, seventeen of which were done solely to address concerns brought up by involved parties.

The finished pipeline required over 1,000 permits, certificates, and approvals – approximately one for every mile of the pipeline – and a similarly thoughtful, nuanced process will go into all future development as needed.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has no impact on drinking water.

The Dakota Access Pipeline has had no impact on groundwater in any state it passes through since service began in June 2017. It does not impact the water supply for any residents of the area, including the Standing Rock Sioux, whose water intake was moved 50 miles from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A U.S. Army Corps of engineers study completed in August of 2018 confirmed an earlier survey’s findings that the pipeline does not pose an environmental threat, and the risk of a spill or environmental incident is considerably lower than when transporting crude oil, natural gas, and refined shale by train or truck, which has been happening for decades.

Pipelines have been found to be approximately 450 times safer than rail as a means by which to transport natural resources, and a number of pipelines have run across the Missouri River without incident for decades as well, providing easy transport from North Dakota to a number of regions across the country.

Furthermore, concerns about the pipeline running close to major water sources have been overblown. Pipelines have operated underneath many bodies of water in the region for decades without incident, and the technology powering the Dakota Access Pipeline makes it among the safest in the world. 

The Dakota Access Pipeline is almost entirely built on private land.

Over 99% – 99.98% percent, in fact – of the Dakota Access Pipeline sits on land that had already been set aside for utility easements, with only an extremely small portion of the line sitting on any type of public land.

To facilitate positive relationships and goodwill throughout the development process, private property owners whose land contains a part of the pipeline have a direct relationship with land agents representing the pipeline.

This ensures that they are fairly compensated, that their concerns or suggestions are heard, and that their questions are answered. In the event that something were to happen on their land, they would be able to receive a near-immediate response and fast resolution, ensuring positive growth for years to come.

Contrary to established and popular belief, the pipeline avoids crossing the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, as well as Lake Oahe. The Army Corps of Engineers, who ultimately approved the project, discussed the route extensively with tribes, including the Standing Rock Sioux, to discuss all surveys and findings and create the best possible routing to meet their needs while serving the people of North Dakota.

The Dakota Access Pipeline reduced costs for North Dakota and cut back on transportation emissions for natural resources in the state and for the region.

Before the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, energy producers in the region paid a shipping penalty of $7-8 per barrel due to the fact that they had to bring in upwards of 1,200 tank cars daily to transport crude oil to the Gulf Coast.

This number has since been reduced to $5 per barrel, saving the region upwards of 40%. This has upped capacity from 1 million barrels per day to 1.1 million, as well as reduced the number of 100-car trains used to transport crude oil from 12 to two, reducing the overall risk of oil spills by a significant degree.

The Dakota Access Pipeline made North Dakota more competitive in the national oil economy.

Because of the need to transport crude oil via train or truck, North Dakota’s remote location for crude left it struggling to compete with other shale producers. The pipeline has made North Dakota much more competitive with Texas and other states that have an easy way to transport resources to the Gulf Coast, which has raised the price of Bakken crude by over $2 per barrel, raising tax revenue and brought in over $18 million in additional revenue in just a three month period in 2017.

As of 2020, Bakken crude output has helped to stabilize costs for consumers and producers alike.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is aiming to safely increase capacity.

After receiving additional commitments from shippers and with a continual growing need in the market for further capacity, there are plans to optimize the Dakota Access Pipeline to produce more crude oil daily in the Bakken region by at least 35,000 barrels. This upgrade will further grow the economy in North Dakota and help to stabilize oil costs for consumers.

Optimization is a straightforward process that consists of adding horsepower, modifying, and upgrading pump stations, with no additional construction of any kind needed. New pump stations will be added in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Illinois, and each station will be isolated to ensure that it is quiet and does not harm the surrounding environment, and all operation will take place in full compliance with local, state, and federal requirements.

To learn more about the Dakota Access Pipeline, click here for additional information.