On Oct. 26 the federal Bureau of Land Management released a finding of no significant impact and a decision record on the proposed BakkenLink crude oil pipeline in western North Dakota, giving the project its final regulatory green light.
With the determination that the proposed pipeline “will not have a significant effect on the human environment,” a more detailed environmental impact statement is not required and the agency has issued a right-of-way grant for the project. With granting the right of way, BLM begins a 30-day period during which its decision can be appealed, but construction on the project is allowed to begin immediately.
As originally proposed to BLM, the proposed BakkenLink would have run 132 miles starting near Tioga in Williams County and running south across Lake Sakakawea through Keane, then over to Watford City, and then south to a rail facility at Fryburg in Billings County. However, the BLM approved route excluded the Lake Sakakawea crossing, so the pipeline will run approximately 98 miles beginning on the south side of the lake at the existing Arrow Midstream receipt facility south of Keene to Fryburg.
Initial capacity of 65,000 bpdThe 8-inch and 12-inch pipeline will have an initial capacity of 65,000 barrels per day with the ability to expand to 85,000 barrels per day, according to the plan of development filed with BLM.
As previously reported by Petroleum News Bakken, the North Dakota Public Service Commission gave the project its green light in early September, and with that approval all requirements of the State of North Dakota were met. The comment period on the BLM’s draft EA closed Sept. 15, leaving review of the 12 public comments the agency received on the draft EA and an agency determination as to significant impacts the only remaining regulatory hurdles.
The BakkenLink is a Bakken Pipeline LLC project, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Houston-based Great Northern Midstream. Great Northern Midstream is constructing the rail facility where the BakkenLink will terminate at Fryburg.
Originally the BakkenLink was intended to run all the way to Baker, Mont., where it was to connect to the Keystone XL pipeline, but when the Keystone XL project was put on hold in 2011, BakkenLink LLC modified its plan and opted to terminate the pipeline at the Fryburg rail facility.