Officials say pipeline boosts revenue by about $6M a month

BISMARCK, N.D. — The Dakota Access oil pipeline boosted North Dakota state tax revenues by about $19 million in its first three months of operation, according to an analysis by the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.

Producers have seen about a $2 increase per barrel in the average price for crude oil coming from western North Dakota in June, July and August, compared with figures from 2016, Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad told The Bismarck Tribune .

Kringstad attributed the increase to more competitive transportation costs since the $3.8 billion pipeline went into service in June, following months of delays caused by legal battles and on-the-ground protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux and supporters who fear environmental harm. Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners maintains the pipeline is safe.

Kringstad's figures are based on current North Dakota oil production, which in August averaged just over 1 million barrels daily. The $2 boost for every barrel equates to more than $6 million in additional oil tax revenue for the state each month, he said.

Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said the figures he's seeing in his office are consistent with Kringstad's estimates.

"It's helping all the producers and royalty owners regardless of whether those barrels are actually traveling down the Dakota Access pipeline," Rauschenberger said. "That has really set the market and made the transportation much more competitive leaving North Dakota."

Rauschenberger estimates North Dakota will see a boost in oil tax revenue of $140 million each two-year budget cycle if the trend continues. That will benefit the entire state, not just oil-producing areas, he said, helping fund such things as water projects and education.

Craig Stevens, a spokesman for Grow America's Infrastructure Now, a pro-pipeline coalition of businesses, trade associations and labor groups, issued a statement Wednesday touting the North Dakota tax figures as "proof of the returns that investment in energy infrastructure can provide."

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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