Illinois regulators have rejected a request from environmental groups to delay a decision on that state’s permits for the proposed expansion of the Dakota Access pipeline.
The groups Save Our Illinois Land and the Sierra Club had argued there is less need to expand the pipeline since a pandemic has crushed worldwide oil demand, forcing many companies to curtail production.
Energy Transfer Partners, however, countered that the pandemic is a temporary condition. Demand is sure to increase as the economy revives, and once that happens, the pipeline expansion will still be needed to transport constrained Bakken crude.
Dakota Access proposed expanding its Bakken pipeline from 570,000 barrels of oil per day to 1.1 million prior to the pandemic. At the time, North Dakota was posting production records, and had already bumped up against existing crude oil pipeline capacity.
The DAPL expansion will involve construction of three new pumping stations, but no new pipeline construction.