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TransCanada Proposes Upland Pipeline to Ship Bakken Oil to Canada

TransCanada has to do something with all that pipe they stockpiled for the doomed Keystone XL. So now they want to build a pipeline to carry oil from the Bakken in North Dakota up to Canada:

TransCanada Corp. will hold three open house events next week along the route of the proposed Upland Pipeline, which would carry up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

The pipeline would travel 126 miles in North Dakota, beginning about 15 miles southwest of Williston and heading northeast to Burke County, N.D., where it crosses the Canadian border near Flaxton, N.D.

The project is slated to be in service by the end of 2020 if it gets approved by the U.S. State Department, Canada’s National Energy Board and the North Dakota Public Service Commission [Amy Dalrymple, “Proposed Pipeline Would Carry Oil to Canada,” Forum News Service via Prairie Business, 2016.04.04].

Holy reversal, Batman! Mike Rounds was telling us we had to build Keystone XL to bring more oil to the United States, and now TransCanada is telling us he had it completely bass-ackwards.

I can only assume thatRounds and his Republican friends will see the Upland Pipeline as a grave threat to our domestic oil supply and will urge President Obama to block TransCanada’s effort to ship our oil out of our country and away from our refineries and gas tanks.


  1. Rorschach 2016-04-04 11:10

    The linked article says, “The Upland Pipeline would transport Bakken crude to Canadian markets as well as refineries on the U.S. East Coast.”

    If TransCanada has excess market capacity and pipeline capacity in Canada, I wonder why they didn’t think of using that for their own tar sands bitumen?

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-04 12:48

    Keystone I is shut down while TransCanada cleans up and investigates Saturday’s leak. “TransCanada is in the process of removing the oil and investigating the source. No significant impact to the environment has been observed and the investigation is ongoing.” If there is oil to remove, can we really say there has been no significant environmental impact?

  3. Darin Larson 2016-04-04 14:27

    Good thing they passed the law last year that allowed companies to export oil from the US. I wonder if Bakken oil will end up in a Chinese refinery?

  4. Jana 2016-04-04 14:37

    I’m “sure” every member of the PUC has been there to see the spill first hand so they know the risks they are taking with other people’s property. No?!?

  5. jerry 2016-04-04 14:52

    The PUC in South Dakota fits right into the rest of the phony crooks and liars that run this place.

    ” Brian Walsh of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources visited the site on Sunday. The DENR is responsible for monitoring the cleanup and insuring the company follows state laws and procedures during the process.

    “They will be expected to remove any soil that’s been contaminated and any groundwater that’s contaminated,” Walsh said. […]

    The leak is the fifth in South Dakota for Keystone I, which was approved in by the Public Utilities Commission in 2008. The DENR’s spill map shows three releases of petroleum in 2010 and one in 2011. One spill in 2010 took place at the same pump station, with a release of less than five gallons because of a fitting leak.”

    How can ol Brian expect a spill to be cleaned up if it gets into the ground water? That is impossible and he knows it. Of course, rubes take the word of the owners when it comes to the amount of spill. Less than 5 gallons, kind of like the Yellowstone River spill and all of the rest, when it gets to reality, it is a lot more than what they say.

  6. Daniel Buresh 2016-04-04 15:00

    Pipelines spill, trains derail, trucks wreck, ships sink, planes crash…..It’s going to happen. I believe they are saying that no significant impact has been observed, but that can obviously change as the investigation goes on. Oil spills are generally categorized as significant, and insignificant. We’ve had 3 insignificant spills on our land alone, all from trucks. It happens almost every day in ND but you don’t hear about it even though it would add up to be bigger than this. Even when taking leaks and spills into consideration, pipelines are still the better option. China is going to keep buying up oil because they really don’t care about conservation efforts in other parts of the world. Oil is a global commodity so if they can’t get it from Canada, they will get it from somewhere. When demand continues to rise and the supply doesn’t go along with it, prices will ultimately rise as well. Where we get our oil is just as important to us as where China gets theirs. It will affect what we pay if they decide to compete for our supply. This macroeconomics lesson has been brought to you in part by the tears and emotions of liberals crying about spilled oil while they type on their petroleum based electronics and send data over petroleum based lines while enjoying the modern 1st world amenities such as electricity, heat, cable, internet, ample food supply, clothing, and modern furnishings.

  7. jerry 2016-04-04 15:10

    Liberals crying about spilled oil? The South Dakota answer to everything. Blame it on Obama and the liberals. Guess what, there ain’t no liberals in South Dakota, take a look at who runs this joint. No man, it gets to the heart of more than that. You cannot eat oil nor can you drink it. Oil is just like coal and nuclear power, it destroys more than it makes. Take a look around you. Take a look at what this crap has done to our climate. Liberals indeed, if that is your definition of a liberal, one who knows what poison is, count me in.

  8. bret clanton 2016-04-04 15:39

    Daniel, does one have to be exclusively a liberal to have concerns about environmental issues and private property rights?

  9. Daniel Buresh 2016-04-04 15:45

    “Liberals crying about spilled oil?”

    Yes, the whiny little b!tches are crying about it. All emotion, no logic. Half of them are confusing it with KXL.

    “You cannot eat oil nor can you drink it.”

    Anything you eat or drink is more than likely dependent on oil in one way or another.

    “Oil is just like coal and nuclear power, it destroys more than it makes.”

    Funny, those who are pushing for more renewable energy are fully aware that nuclear power may be the solution to the transition and is going to be more important in the future. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Neil Degrasse Tyson must be idiots to you.

    “Take a look around you.”

    I am and I can’t name a single thing near me that isn’t associated with oil. It’s not as simple as shutting off the tap.

    “Liberals indeed, if that is your definition of a liberal, one who knows what poison is, count me in.”

    The liberal point isn’t about recognizing the poison, it’s about sitting on your ass acting like you know how to solve it without killing half of the world’s population while doing it. You should do your part and get rid of your computer and the internet.

  10. Daniel Buresh 2016-04-04 15:50

    “Daniel, does one have to be exclusively a liberal to have concerns about environmental issues and private property rights?”

    I have concerns about environmental issues and property rights, but I base my concerns on scientific facts, not emotions. The pipeline leaked. It’s still better than the alternative of shipping it by truck and rail, and the environment is better off even with a pipeline leak every now and then. This leak will fuel the stupidity of those who are driven by their emotions and can’t think about a topic outside of their small little worlds.

  11. mike from iowa 2016-04-04 16:05

    Since no liberal has seen all oil spills,you aren’t entitled to determine what significant impact means. When the world ends for sure in about 5 billion +/_ years, only then can liberals truly understand what significant impact means.

    In the mean time we are just supposed to stfu and let wingnuts continually rape the planet and extract all resources to hasten the end times.

  12. Craig 2016-04-04 16:08

    DB from the comments I’m reading, you’re the only one crying or “b!tching” about it. People aren’t going to be happy about an oil spill, so I’m not exactly sure what your point is. You act as if nobody should care, but that isn’t fair nor realistic.

    I use oil every day and won’t deny it. I drive gasoline powered cars. I use a variety of petroleum based plastics each and every single day and I understand there is very much a need for oil. I’m not against the idea of pipelines and agree when compared to transportation via rail car or tanker pipelines are less likely to result in environmental damage. Yet when that damage does occur – I am still concerned.

    You don’t need to be a liberal to be concerned with such damage, and you don’t need to be a liberal to understand that it might make more long-term sense to shift the mindset to rely upon more renewables instead of continuing to subsidize fossil fuel exploration via eminent domain to allow (force) more pipelines to be installed under land that the owners are trying to protect.

  13. Daniel Buresh 2016-04-04 16:16

    Craig, this site is all about generalizations and absolutes. If they can do it, then I can do it as well. Liberals are driven by emotions and not facts. They all point out this leak like it was something they warned us of. No shit sherlock….we all knew it would leak at some point. It still doesn’t change the fact that it is a better option. Only wingnuts rape the planet….dont chya know? Now, I need to go to an ammosexual meeting since I am apparently in love with my guns. I may see if Cory wants to come as well since he doesn’t want to wait for the police to handle issues before handling them himself. Aren’t absolutes fun?

  14. Dana P 2016-04-04 16:47

    Thank goodness there is a “spill fund” that the oil companies are mandated to contribute to – so that the taxpayers aren’t stuck holding the bill when it comes to the cost of spill cleanup…

    Oh wait, that’s right. “Kristi” voted against that fund (Paula Hawks – another one to add to the list!)

  15. Mark Winegar 2016-04-04 17:25

    The last I heard bitumen (oil from fracking) cost about twice as much to make as the going price for oil. This sounds like a terrible idea to me.

  16. mike from iowa 2016-04-04 17:38

    Absolutes are fun,. You, DB, otoh-not so much. The only absos wingnuts are interested in is being absolved of any blame and financial penalties when they screw the pooch. Yeah,but,liberals do it too, Wah,wah,wah.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-04 17:45

    Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis/Mike? Dan is absolutely fun.

    By the way, I missed the absolute hilarity of Owen’s use of the term “breaking news”.

  18. MOSES 2016-04-04 17:45

    like rocket science what does m rounds have to say about it DUH.

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-04 17:56

    Hey, Dan, I’m not crying. I rode my bike farther than I drove my car today. :-) I also ran my computer and phone on low brightness to stretch the petro-generated electricity stored in my battery as long as possible.

    Meanwhile, over in China, the economic slowdown is pushing small- and medium enterprises to join the drive for energy efficiency already underway in large enterprises:

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-04 18:03

    “Liberals are driven by emotion not facts”—Daniel, are you trying to distinguish liberals from conservatives here? Or are you simply making an observation about human nature in general, accounting for our exaggerated trauma over the Keystone 1 leak as well as anyone voting for Donald Trump?

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-04 18:05

    Seriously, are we not better off paying close attention to pipeline spills, raising hell when they happen, and forcing shippers to be as careful as possible when designing, building, and operating their oil-delivery systems?

    And back to the new Bakken export pipeline TransCanada wants to build, how have we moved in less than a year from needing to haul Canadian oil across our prairie to shipping American oil up to Canada?

  22. bret clanton 2016-04-04 18:19

    Dana P., there is a national spill fund in place but tar-sands oil is exempt from paying into it….Daniel Buresh, it would appear to me that the one making the most emotional posts is you….

  23. leslie 2016-04-04 18:47

    grain trains?

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-04 20:51

    That proposal came out last year! Why didn’t I notice that Upland Pipeline sooner? And indeed, where the heck does TransCanada plan to take that oil?

  25. bret clanton 2016-04-04 20:52

    The KXL pipeline is just a bear in hibernation……

  26. grudznick 2016-04-04 20:54

    Mr. H, can you tell us more about your bike and your car? I recall you being proud of a Mad-Max style bike you built out of recycled parts or something and that is really neato. Not being a fancy libbie pretentious bike and all. But you drive a bright orange really fancy Bug do you not? With custom “IMMRH” plates I am told.

  27. Douglas Wiken 2016-04-04 21:00

    North Dakota crude is lighter and can be and probably is being blended in with the tar sands oil. A Canadian here claimed that trucks were hauling crude from ND to blend several months ago. One trucker said he was shut down because of the slack in demand.

    This pipeline should definitely not be approved and it too needs White House approval since it crosses an international boundary.

    Buresh neglects mentioning the huge pipeline spill in ND that was found when a farmer started combining in the fall and found oil squeezing out of the soil. It polluted something like a section of ground.

    There is no reason to build any pipeline that ever leaks. They leak because of cost-cutting like buying pipe from India and welding that is not inspected and disregarding geologic conditions.

    We can use wind power to produce the chemicals we need that are now made from fossil fuels. And, by spending as much as the US pissed away in Iraq and Afghanistan already, we could have eliminated the need for fossil fuels. It is a matter of priorities. Do we save the planet or do we let corporations die rich as human life becomes impossible.

    There is plenty of science available that does not rely on emotionalism and tribalism, smoke and mirrors, etc. to both show the dangers of continuing as we are and also how we can avoid catastrophe.

  28. grudznick 2016-04-04 21:13

    Mr. Wiken is righter than right about how the North Dakota crude is. It’s a lighter bodied oil. More of a cooking wine than a drinking one, but a fine light crude for those with a taste for that. He is also right that it is the unions of welders that cause the leaks. A couple of extra beads and some good vo-tech education pumping out more welders will fix that problem in no time. Don’t we have free scholarships for that stuff these days?

  29. Paul Seamans 2016-04-05 02:35

    One thing that is totally different about the leak south of Freeman is that the leak is four miles from a pump station. TransCanada can’t shift the blame off onto a bad seal or valve.

    Plans were being made this morning to fly a plane or drone over the spill site. The FFA said no can do. I don’t know their reasoning yet. TransCanada was also able to close down a county road just adjacent to the spill site. Armed security guards control access.

  30. John 2016-04-05 06:54

    Seenator Mikeies vote will flow the direction the campaign contributions flow . . . . .

    Somebody get him one of those seenator NASCAR jackets.

  31. jerry 2016-04-05 07:33

    We really do not seem to have any laws or rights for that matter when it comes to big oil and that is just the way whiney assed owners like it. The less you know about how your system works, the better. That way, theft can continue unabated. Democracy will just have to wait until the oil companies say it can be restarted. Speaking of theft, and I guess I was doing just that, Black Hills Corp now wants a TIF for their building projects. Damn, that is rich, raise your rates without concern and then ask you to look the other way while they steal more from you. Democracy, what a concept.

  32. mike from iowa 2016-04-05 07:41

    Any good ammosexual with a re-loader could neck down 36 inch pipe to 20 inches in no time.

  33. mike from iowa 2016-04-05 07:54

    Cory, didn’t Paul claim some to use as culverts on the ranch? Or does memory not serve?

  34. Rorschach 2016-04-05 08:13

    From the NRDC article Bret Clanton linked, it looks like the Upland Pipeline can be hooked up to the Dakota Access pipeline – which will be built. If Transcanada gets a permit to cross the national border for the upland pipeline it can hook upland to Dakota Access and instead of shipping Bakken oil to Canada, use Upland/Dakota Access to ship tar sand bitumen to the US. This effectively becomes Keystone XL. Everyone should read Bret’s link.

  35. jerry 2016-04-05 08:18

    How many millions or billions do you think Americans like the Transcanada owners stashed in Panama to avoid taxes in the United States? How many thousands or millions do you think Transcanada’s owners have not paid South Dakota for the abuse of the land they flow through? Who monitors the flow and how do we know it is legitimate with the way our state is being run?

  36. Craig 2016-04-05 08:23

    DB: “Craig, this site is all about generalizations and absolutes. If they can do it, then I can do it as well.”

    Well don’t ever let anyone accuse you of taking the high road I suppose.

    DB: “Liberals are driven by emotions and not facts.”

    I think it is a fact that the pipeline has an oil leak. It is also a fact that OPEC has increased supplies which has dropped the cost, which in turn makes drilling in areas like North Dakota less profitable but at the same time makes development of alternatives less difficult as the payback period becomes much longer. This is exactly why OPEC has taken action because they see the future. They know solar arrays and battery powered cars are taking off and will ultimately replace fossil fuels.

    Perhaps liberals are better in touch with reality, because they see the future and feel that investing in renewables provides for a better long-term result. You don’t find many liberals shouting “drill baby drill” nor do you find many who think we need more and more pipelines which in effect are just a way to subsidize the price of oil. Is that emotion… maybe a little, but only because the typical liberal cares about what he or she passes on to the next generation.

    Facts are important no doubt. Emotions are too. Give me someone with a brain and no heart, and it would be a rather boring place to live.

  37. roger 2016-04-05 08:25

    yep, pipelines can pump both ways…..

  38. Paul Seamans 2016-04-05 08:33

    The motels in Freeman SD, ten miles from the spill site, are full. TransCanada did promise that local communities would benefit from the Keystone 1 pipeline.

  39. Rorschach 2016-04-05 08:35

    My question about the Panama leak, Jerry, is will it show shell companies set up or owned by Joop Bollen, James Park, Hanul Law Firm, the Rounds brothers? These overseas loans arranged for by the Joopster make no sense financially for NBP unless the goal was to transfer all of NBP’s investor money overseas to the secret owners of the shell company that provided the loans. That’s essentially what happened, so who owns the shell companies that got all of the money?

  40. Paul Seamans 2016-04-05 08:38

    Mike, yes I have first claim on the rusty pipes in the Gascoyne pipeyard for use as culverts.

    The spill by Freeman has two flatbed semis sitting there with repair parts. They look like the compression fittings used in household plumbing. Evidently a splice can’t be welded while the pipe is down in the trench.

  41. Paul Seamans 2016-04-05 08:41

    Rorschach, I believe that at one time TransCanada was considering going after the EB5 loans for the KXL.

  42. leslie 2016-04-05 09:13

    “hundreds of workers on scene at the spill site” I heard. good for SD economy!!:)

    mark, bitumen might not have much to do with (emotional) fracking. fracking has been proven in wyo to be polluting groundwater just recently in a big dust-up between EPA, a private expert, and WYO DENR. CITATION IS SOMEWHERE ON THE BLOG. WILL REPOST TO NEEDLE DANIEL IF IT POPS BACK UP. stupid caps machine.

  43. Jim 2016-04-05 09:32

    “No significant impact to the environment has been observed…”

    Industry soft speak. They don’t know the source or amount spilled. More than 100 people working the site with people coming from across the U.S. and some from Canada headed to the site. I guess it depends on how you define “significant”. Surface sheen, an indeterminate amount of spill and heavy equipment ripping up the topsoil to at least pinpoint the leak is not “significant” by industry standards. I guess if you can’t observe an impact with the naked eye, the impact is insignificant.

  44. Ed 2016-04-05 09:35

    Just heard TransCanada’s puppet, PUC Chairman Chris Nelson all over the airwaves reassuring all of us that TransCanada has everything under control, and we have nothing to worry about. Try telling that to the landowners and people living along the polluted waterway. Why is there no opponent to this guy for PUC race this fall?

  45. happy camper 2016-04-05 10:05

    Our liking black and white simple answers has nothing to do with party affiliation. The gray sounds wishy washy and we avoid that uncertainty even though that’s where the answers are. When you think about most of our decision making has been binary. There’s a lot more gray in today’s world and we’re just not that good at looking at things that way.

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-05 10:26

    Stay tuned, Ed: we don’t have to nominate a PUC candidate until convention. We have time to find a good Democrat who’d like to run on pipeline oversight. Perhaps one of the runner-up Democrats in our three Legislative primaries would be interested?

  47. spike 2016-04-05 13:04

    I don’t consider our concern for the dramatic and devastating results of petroleum industry accidents a “liberal” outcry. Kalamazoo, BP, Valdez and many others can be devastating and categorically unrecoverable from.

    So what would a spill or leak into the Missouri or Oglala Aquifer look like? Who really knows.
    The craziness that followed the BP leak revealed despite the industries tremendous resources there are unknowns. and more than a few “conservatives” have paid the price. Some of the most independent people suffered under the Valdez and BP spills. And the theft from the federal money allocated to the cleanup was out of control.

  48. mike from iowa 2016-04-05 13:31

    Mr Spike, do not ever forget that Exxon was able to stall their liability payouts for at least 25 years and after a fourth of the plaintiffs had passed away,they were able to get the courts to reduce their liabilities to a pittance.

    You can walk the beaches in Prince William Sound and crude oil will seep out of your bootprints even today.

  49. jerry 2016-04-05 13:33

    The list is long Mr. Rorschach but according to this article, the doors are beginning to open on some of the Americans involved. There are at least 200 American passports, 3100 companies with American addresses. Not to hard to figure the players here are involved in places where 120 million could hide. The President of Iceland has resigned with these papers. David Cameron from the UK is getting his behind kicked with this, Le Pen in France is diving for cover. So Joop and his bro’s are probably feeling kind of bummed that there theft may be unraveling, something to think about.

    Al Jazerra reports that there are at least 60 to 65 other countries beside Panama that are involved with the same scam. We start collecting taxes on this bunch and we can take care of our country that has been laid to waste by this robbery. Where does Transcanada figure into this, it only makes sense that something this big would have these guys fingerprints all over it.

  50. leslie 2016-04-05 14:21

    ed, I have heard we may or may not have. it pays $100k. some techie w/ heart in the right place needs to get crackin’ by june I think.

  51. Paul Seamans 2016-04-05 15:11

    I do not mind one bit being called a liberal environmentalist. What I never want to be called is what my native friends call people who always take and never give anything back. “A Fat Taker”.

  52. Richard Schriever 2016-04-06 00:07

    Daniel Buresh – do you think you can somehow work the increasing competitiveness of pricing coupled with a growth of the supply of competing energy sources into your macro economic lesson about supply/demand for petroleum products and the inevitability of rising demand/prices? Or is that modeling too complex a task for your 101 level of understanding econ?

  53. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-04-06 01:35

    Much of this oil would just end up in the Asian market, I surmise. Given the recent change in a 40 year ban against the export of domestic oil, the idea of exporting US oil is unfortunately analogous to free trade agreements of the past without even mentioning the promoting of carbon proliferation as well in the world as a whole.

    Like the free trade agreements, the exported US oil causing higher prices at the pump for domestic consumption, I fairly assume, would just be another economic squeeze upon the dwindling middle class in America. Except this time, instead of moving factories overseas we would find ourselves as a nation transferring potential wealth benefit or buying power away from the US middle class in favor of foreign benefiters.

  54. happy camper 2016-04-06 04:17

    Until there’s a real alternative it has to get moved some way. With fallen oil prices bankrupt producers are creating havoc for the transporters (many operate as Master Limited Partnerships). Sabine and others want to break these contracts and strike new deals which were very profitable when oil was high and producers could pay. This is a very shaky sector right now (midstream energy), so it is probably a good time to build a new pipeline and secure a low cost of construction (through all the subcontracts) during this low period with high uncertainty.

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