Hoeven: MDU Resources' New Pipeline the Kind of Energy Infrastructure America Needs

Pipeline Will Help Reduce Natural Gas Flaring

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said MDU Resources Group’s planned 325 mile Upper Midwest natural gas pipeline is the vital kind of energy infrastructure North Dakota and the nation need. The senator has been working to develop more energy infrastructure, including gas pipelines to reduce flaring and make more supplies of home heating fuel available. The new pipeline carries enough natural gas annually to heat 1.3 million homes.

More energy infrastructure, he said, can hedge against the kind of potential service interruption that could have occurred earlier this week when a TransCanada gas pipeline ruptured during a spell of frigid weather in the Upper Midwest, compelling Xcel Energy to reduce service.

Earlier this week, Hoeven spoke with Alex Pourbaix, President of Energy & Oil Pipelines of TransCanada Corp. and Ben Fowke, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, to improve security for natural gas supplies, especially in dangerously cold weather. Both Pourbaix and Fowke told the senator that they are working to build more backup capacity in the natural gas pipeline system that serves northern Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin so that if one line is out of service, others can compensate for the loss. Hoeven today said the Dakota Pipeline will help to provide some of that backup capacity.

“MDU’s Dakota Pipeline and energy infrastructure like it will help us capture more gas, reduce flaring, and provide North Dakotans with an additional margin of safety during very cold weather,” Hoeven said. “Not only North Dakota, but the entire nation needs that kind of energy security and reliability.”

MDU Resources announced its major new infrastructure project this afternoon in Bismarck. The project would connect the prolific gas fields in western North Dakota’s Bakken to refineries and markets in eastern North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and other Midwestern markets. MDU and its interstate pipeline subsidiary, WBI Energy, will also hold an open season to secure binding shipping commitments from producers.

Hoeven said that gas pipelines like MDU’s Dakota Pipeline are vital. Utilities in the Upper Great Plains are increasingly integrated into a web of pipelines, providing utilities with more than one source of natural gas delivery. The TransCanada pipeline breach earlier this week impacted communities served by Great Plains Natural Gas (GPNG) pipeline, causing a key utility, Xcel Energy, to reduce service in northwestern Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Had MDU Resource’s Dakota Pipeline been in service, the TransCanada shut down would not have caused the service interruption it did.