Pipeline company gets “conditional OK” to convert a pipeline

Listen to Dave Thompson of Prairie Public here.

The Public Service Commission has approved a plan to convert an existing crude oil gathering pipeline to a transmission line.

However, the approval comes with conditions.

Hiline Crude built the 197 mile long pipeline as a gathering line, But it now wants to convert it to a transmission line – and it will have to add tanks and pumping stations to do so. State law says transmission pipelines can’t be built within 500 feet of an existing home, unless the company gets the owner of the property to sign a waiver. There are 20 homes within 500 feet of the pipeline, and all but five have signed waivers. The PSC order says Hiline must get waivers from those five additional homeowners.

“This is really a case of balance,” said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. “We need to maximize our existing pipeline structure, and that’s what this project attempts to do.”

Fedorchak says at the same time, more pipelines need to be built.

“The key to building more pipelines is good landowner relations.” said Fedorchak.

The pipeline will be able to carry about 65,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The project has a $55 million price tag.

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