Bob Schoneberger, the founder of Minnesotans for Line 3 has a nice jacket. What makes it unique is an important phrase that is stitched into it. It says “I love pipelines and you should too.”
To some, this may seem like a nice slogan. But this week we saw even more reasons why what’s on Bob’s jacket is not only true, the news shows how great the need is for Line 3 and more oil pipeline capacity.
The focus now for the Line 3 project is on finalizing the route and getting the permits to allow construction work to start. Yet we wanted to use this update to share some recent headlines that shows how much the “need” for Line 3 continues to grow.
The first key fact is how the “need” to get oil from where it is produced to where it’s refined is intensifying at a time when capacity in pipelines is not keeping pace.
- Canadian oil exports moving by train have set another record and the trend won’t be derailed anytime soon — until additional pipelines are built.
- New National Energy Board figures show 199,000 barrels of oil were exported daily by rail in May, up slightly from April and a 52 per cent jump from the same time last year.
- The dramatic increase has come as new pipelines have been delayed and operators are rationing space on existing pipelines as more oil is being produced in Western Canada than can fit into the country’s current pipe network.
There has been such a large increase in rail imports of oil from Canada that many companies are negotiating more rail car space to serve their customers. Some companies are now creating new facilities in order to adjust to the increase in rail use. As has been said many times before, the oil is getting to market whether it goes through a pipeline or into a rail car.
The second key fact that show much more “need” there is comes from North Dakota where production continues to increase, creating a growing “need” to get the oil to market.
- North Dakota’s oil production in May climbed to nearly 1.25 million barrels per day, hitting another record for the nation’s second-largest producer of oil.
- The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources on Friday reported the data, which was up about 5 percent, or 19,000 barrels a day, from April.
- About 96 percent of the total 38.6 million barrels of oil pumped in May came from the state’s lucrative Bakken formation and Three Forks oil fields, state officials said.
The record levels of oil being produced in North Dakota combined with record levels of oil being exported by trains from Canada shows that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission made the right decision when they granted the certificate of need for Line 3.
As part of that decision, the PUC reviewed the rules that includes this key point
- the consequences to society of granting the certificate of need are more favorable than the consequences of denying the certificate
This brings us to the final fact for this post that goes to “need.” This unfortunately proves the point we continue to make that pipelines are a better and safer way to transport oil. We now know more about a recent train derailment that happened June 23rd in Iowa.
- An estimated 230,000 gallons (870,619 liters) of crude oil spilled into floodwaters in the northwestern corner of Iowa following a train derailment, a railroad official said Saturday.
- BNSF spokesman Andy Williams said 14 of 32 oil tanker cars just south of Doon in Lyon County leaked oil into surrounding floodwaters from the swollen Little Rock River. Williams had earlier said 33 oil cars had derailed.
Even though most of the PUC members clearly did not like the idea of a rebuilt pipeline in Minnesota, they also knew what was at stake. Rebuilding Line 3 means a safer way to transporting oil as we are producing and shipping more of it than ever. More oil going into more train cars brings real consequences.
As this process goes forward, count on us to share other important information about how much pipelines have changed, technology and systems have improved, and the amazing workforce here that is ready to get to work.
But for this post it is important to realize that the need for Line 3 was real when the application process started. The recent news shared here shows that the “need” is even more real as well as the risks of not getting the project completed.