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FERC approves North Bakken Expansion with WBI line –GHGs evaluations discarded

FERC-approves-North-Bakken-Expansion-with-WBI-line-–GHGs-evaluations-discarded

Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the North Bakken Expansion project. Indeed, this project proposal was submitted by MDU subsidiary WBI Energy last year in February.

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Worth noting, the new natural gas line will transport up to 250 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. Besides, it will help reduce flaring in the Bakken.

North Bakken Expansion Project – What the WBI line would represent

According to WBI’s application, the North Bakken expansion project would connect WBI Energy’s Tioga Compressor Station to a proposed new Elkhorn Creek Compressor Station in McKenzie County. Thus, this would be possible with a 62-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline.

Besides, from there, WBI will build a 0.3-mile-long new interconnect with the existing Northern Border Pipeline.

Similarly, the project includes about 20 miles of 12-inch diameter pipeline in Mountrail and Burke Counties. Also, about 9.4 miles of 12-inch diameter pipeline in Williams County, and additional horsepower for the Tioga compressor station.

FERC’s approval

Indeed, WBI hoped to complete the expansion project by November this year. However, the line was one of 14 projects that appeared to stall in October 2020 under the Trump administration.

Later, a new chairman came on board as part of the Biden administration, Richard Glick. As a result, he has implemented a new greenhouse gas review for projects like WBI’s.

The Project came to fruition due to North Dakota’s Congressional delegation work. In fact, over 25 senators pressed FERC in the last couple of months to act on stalled pipelines without applying Glick’s new guidance retroactively to projects filed before he entered into office. Worth noting, Rep. Sen. John Hoeven led the group.

Due to the positive results, on Thursday, North Dakota’s federal lawmakers universally praised the decision to give WBI permission to proceed with its project.  

Reception

Accordingly, Sen. John Hoeven called the $260M project a significant step forward. Similarly, Sen. Kevin Cramer highlighted jobs and economic growth associated with the project.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong also said that “FERC’s approval of the North Bakken Expansion Project is excellent news for North Dakota. Thus, this project will help Bakken producers improve their natural gas capture rate, which will reduce flaring and increase our supply of American energy.”

Besides, “pipelines are essential infrastructure,” continued Armstrong. And “this approval is an integral part of maintaining American energy independence.”

In its order, most FERC’s Commissioners said that they disagreed that greenhouse gas emissions must necessarily be a consideration, incremental or not for the WBI project. Additionally, they rejected calls by the Institute for Policy Integrity to monetize such impacts using a social cost metric.

Nonetheless, FERC did look briefly at the total potential for greenhouse gas emissions in its order. According to that analysis, the maximum potential GHG from the project would be 85,666 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

Meanwhile, Downstream emissions, assuming 100% of the gas is combusted, would be 4.83 million metric tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalent.

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