Sources tell me the unloading is a slow process, as each 80-foot section of 30-inch pipe is inspected for damage as it comes off the train. If the pipe is solid, it is laid on a truck and hauled to the pile. But if the pipe has been damaged in transit (and things do shift and bang around on the train), workers set the pipe aside for immediate repair on site.
One source tells me that the discard/repair rate has been unusually high recently, with up to 40% of the pipe sections requiring work. The dings aren’t actual holes or creases in the pipe, just wear on the outer coating. But why the high rate? Blame old steel: the current batch unloading at Mina comes for older stock from Canada. According to my source, most of the Dakota Access steel comes from Canada. A smaller portion of the pipe comes from Arkansas. My source didn’t name the company, but one big pipe producer in Arkansas is Welspun, the Indian company that produced 50% of the Keystone XL pipe TransCanada has had sitting outside exposed to the elements for years. Welspun also provided 47% of the steel for the Keystone I pipeline (which Dakota Access will cross here in East River), as well as defective steel for six preceding pipelines.
Projected to begin commercial operation in December 2016, Dakota Access will carry Bakken crude oil from northwestern North Dakota to refineries in Patoka, Illinois.