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Regulators approved McKenzie County pipeline project

BISMARCK (AP) — North Dakota regulators have approved a pipeline project that will send more Bakken crude to a Wyoming oil hub.

Bridger Pipeline plans to convert 27 miles of an oil gathering pipeline into a larger transmission line in McKenzie County. It also will add another 2.4 miles to the pipeline located east of Watford City. Other pipelines will transport the oil to Guernsey, Wyoming, and then to market in other states.

The state Public Service Commission voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of the $21 million project. Commission Chair Julie Fedorchak said she sees it as a sign of the Bakken’s recovery following the oil downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Any time these companies are adding more infrastructure and spending money, I think it shows a belief this play is here for the long haul,” she said. “I feel that it sends a strong message this company and others are still pretty hopeful and confident in the future of the Bakken.”

The company’s application for the project alluded to the potential shutdown of the Dakota Access pipeline, saying the Bridger project “will be a vital part of an alternative route out of North Dakota in the event of a shutdown of the other pipelines leaving the Williston Basin,” the Bismarck Tribune reported.

A judge is expected to rule any day on whether Dakota Access pipeline can continue operating during an environmental review.