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Dakota Access Still Stockpiling Pipe, Doing More On-Site Repairs on Older Canadian Steel

Dakota Access Pipeline Route, from Energy Transfer Partners, 2015
Dakota Access Pipeline Route, from Energy Transfer Partners, 2015

Energy Transfer Partners continue to stockpile pipe for their Dakota Access Pipeline west of Aberdeen. Train cars still stand here in Aberdeen, awaiting unloading at the Mina stockpile.

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.


  1. Shirley Harrington-Moore 2015-04-14

    Heard at Friday Forum that pipe made of recycled steel is not strong when ANY rust is included.

  2. Daniel Buresh 2015-04-14

    Yes, rust can weaken steel. However, rust has no effect on the production of steel as all impurities are removed prior to pouring it. Minimum strength standards are met regardless. In fact, if you don’t believe rust should be included when they melt that bowl ladle full of raw materials, then you probably don’t believe in recycling because there will always be a level of rust. Rust was never my concern, water was. One drop and your furnace explodes and you are dead.

  3. Daniel Buresh 2015-04-14

    Build the pipeline and quit endangering people. This is a no-brainer.

  4. Steeler 2015-04-14

    Anyone who understands properties of steel will discuss what you can do with recycled steel versus virgin materials when creating different steel products. Recycled steel cannot be used for high pressure hydraulic applications without considering the inherent weaknesses.

    Steel is not one grade. Just because you say the pipe is steel does not mean it is strong enough to last under pressure.

  5. Paul Seamans 2015-04-14

    Daniel Buresh, building the Dakota Access will not stop people from being endangered. PHMSA data shows that, barrel for barrel, a spill is more likely on pipelines than on railroads.

  6. mike from iowa 2015-04-14

    We estimate 821,000 tons of high strength line pipe will be used on the project in Canada and the U.S. TransCanada has estimated it will use 660,000 tons of steel for the U.S. portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. The following are the line pipe mills who are manufacturing the pipe:

    Welspun – Little Rock, Arkansas, USA 332,800 tons 50%
    Evraz – Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada 156,266 tons 24%
    ILVA – Italy 103,147 tons 16%
    Welspun – India 69,457 tons 10%

  7. Daniel Buresh 2015-04-14

    Spills are not more likely on pipelines. In fact, for the amount of oil moved, pipelines spill less compared to any form of transportation. There is no debating that pipeline is the safest form of transportation with the smallest carbon footprint. Even those against the KXL will tell you that. This is why many of those against KXL still support the creation of domestic pipelines. They just don’t want to assume the risk for foreign lines, even though we are going to in other sectors. How many people have been killed by oil pipelines in the past 5 years? Now, how many have been killed by rail and truck? Pipelines are the safest and cleanest way to move oil. End of discussion.

  8. Paul Seamans 2015-04-14

    Daniel Buresh, what I said about pipelines versus rail is what I read in the FSEIS, I’m busy now or I would provide the reference. I disagree with you about the safety of pipelines, is there any incidence where a spill by rail dumped 800,000 gallons of crude in the water as happened at Kalamazoo?

  9. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-14

    Who are you, Daniel Buresh? I’m familiar with the other commenters here, but not you so I don’t have a reason to find you trustworthy. Help me out please.

    When you keep trying to stop discussion with phrases like “no brainer” and “end of discussion” if feel suspicious. Generally speakers are more credible when participating in conversation openly, rather than doing their best to stifle it.

  10. Greg 2015-04-14

    Mr. Buresh, I really don’t think it is the end of the discussion. Spills are likely to occur with every pipeline. Every pipeline should be constructed with the best possible steel that money can buy, END OF STORY!

  11. Paul Seamans 2015-04-14

    Daniel Buresh, after looking over my notes on the Keystone XL FSEIS I have found the link that talks about more petroleum product being spilled per ton-mile from pipelines than from rail: To build the Keystone XL is a no brainer (meaning that a person needs to have no brains to advocate building the KXL). End of discussion (at least on this issue).

  12. leslie 2015-04-15

    Daniel is back! I think he may be a Madison buddy of cory’s . but whatever, he is a busy brainiac with no time to waste on facts or science, or for KXL denier’s so get it together deb!!:)

    my off the cuff response, Daniel is that the safety of a pipeline is like the safety of a 777. no brainer, no problem, end of discussion, however if it crashes everybody dies. if the pipe breaks from impurities, rust, bad weld, lack of inspection, say under the Yellowstone in the winter, in the middle of nowhere, how much stream reach will be damaged, for how, what is in that dilutant to make the tar sands flow? the last one was 80 miles as I recall. have you been up there and looked around?

    other things we don’t want to discuss if you are a climate denier or a pipeline affirmer, is that we are shifting away from fossil fuels Kochs are opening up in the oil sands of alberta, as a nation: something we should have done in the 70s after the oil shortage in the early 70s. remember that one Daniel, …no, not born yet, or still crawling around? no advanced degrees yet, anyway.

    Daniel, have you met troy?

  13. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-15

    Whoa Leslie! You blew past me too fast. “no time to waste on facts or science”

    You’re referring to Mr. Buresh, I believe. Well anyone can say anything, but it’s a Known Fact that only Faux Nooz can make up Its Own Facts.

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