The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Dakota Access Pipeline for Energy, Economy, Security

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 9, 2017

Perhaps as soon as next week, oil will begin flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline, connecting energy-producing areas in North Dakota with refineries in Illinois. In a recent legal filing the pipeline’s builder, Energy Transfer Partners, said oil would be put in the final part of the pipeline that crosses under Lake Oahe in North Dakota next week or the week after – but most likely next week. Here’s a schematic of how Dakota Access traverses below ground and water:


Completion of the 1,172-mile, $3.78 billion project represents important progress on a number of fronts, including infrastructure, U.S. energy security, jobs, state and local economies and the rule of law.

Most Americans support developing domestic oil and natural gas and adding to the infrastructure needed to transport them. And Dakota Access indicates that our country is entering a new era – one in which safe and responsible energy development and infrastructure construction are embraced. API President and CEO Jack Gerard said President Trump’s executive orders supporting Dakota Access and infrastructure overall:

“[S]ends a signal to the marketplace that the president will restore certainty and regular order to the permitting process for the Dakota Access Pipeline specifically and to future energy infrastructure generally, which most Americans would call simple fairness and commonsense, but what many call honoring the rule of law.”

The project has created tens of thousands of jobs during its construction and promises to generate millions of dollars for states and counties along its route. For example, a recent analysis by the Associated Press estimated the state of North Dakota, which has had budget issues, will gain more than $110 million annually after oil begins flowing through the pipeline – $100 million in oil taxes and $10 million in property taxes. State Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger told AP:

“Every dollar they get extra is good for the state as well. … It's going to benefit schools and counties and more valuation means lower property tax bills for everybody.”

Again, the larger point is the welcome shift by new leadership in Washington toward energy development and needed oil and natural gas infrastructure, which hold the promise of broad benefits for millions of Americans.

More is needed, especially on the infrastructure side. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that while the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has certificated more than 7 billion cubic feet per day of new natural gas pipeline capacity this year, as of Feb. 23 there were 33 projects with FERC applications in process and 20 projects had submitted FERC pre-filings – on hold until the commission regains a quorum. Bloomberg reports the Trump administration is poised to announce a pair of FERC nominations.

This is important progress, to help ensure that oil and natural gas developed here at home can be safely delivered to where individual consumers and businesses need it. Gerard:

“[W]e have the opportunity to achieve America’s true energy potential by embracing, as this administration seems inclined to do, the market-driven innovation and entrepreneurial spirit led by the hard-working 9.8 million women and men who work directly and indirectly in the oil, natural gas and refining industry … When it comes to energy infrastructure we know that allowing the private sector to decide where to invest its capital is good for consumers, our economy and can benefit thousands of middle class families across the country through job creation.”


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.