Oh boy, oh boy, oh oil!
Despite protests and governmental intervention and uncertainties, it wonít be long before oil starts flowing through the much maligned Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).
The line has been filled with oil to a block valve west of the Missouri River in preparation for developer Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) to hit the ground running once the stretch beneath the Missouri Riverís Lake Oahe is drilled and completed. Some believe the fast-tracking project could be done this weekend, with oil flowing through as early as Monday, Mar. 6.
Drilling an estimated 92 feet under the lake, pulling the long section of heavy wall pipe through it, making the last two tie-ins on either end and then hydrostatic testing that section of pipeline takes some time, but the project is moving swiftly on this last leg of the 1,168 mile line from the North Dakota oil fields to the storage complex in Illinois.
When operational, it will take a barrel of oil about 30 days to move from Watson City, North Dakota tthrough Cherokee County o the terminal end at Patoka, Ill.. The oil itself - as much as 570,000 barrels a day - moves through the pipe at a speed of about 5 to 8 miles per hour.
The crossing under the river is over 1,000 feet long This crossing will be done using a large horizontal directional drill. This is a major construction project all by itself. The crossing under the Mississippi River in Lee County was about 5,000 feet long. ETP will make sure everything is done exactly like it should be so it will operate trouble free for many decades.
During the engineering phase, ETP had to do soil borings to find out what kind of soil structures are under the river bed. ETP has automatic block valves on each side of the river so the pipeline under the river can be isolated in any emergency. The valves operate remotely by satellite.
According to past experience and the experts involved, all that can be done has been done to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place and the pipeline is as safe as humanly, and technically possible.
We say, itís about damn time. Bring it on.
And somebody please notify all our dear, devoted friends in the Middle East that we got along withoutcha before we metcha, gonna get along withoutcha now!