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Dakota Access Pipeline and Protests: What Investors Should Know

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Dakota Access Pipeline

The DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) project is part of Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) Bakken Pipeline project. The DAPL is a 1,172 mile, 30-inch crude oil pipeline expected to carry 470,000 barrels per day of oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to refining markets in Illinois. The barrels would move further to the Gulf Coast through a different pipeline. The project is supported by long-term, fee-based contracts.

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Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and Sunoco Logistics Partners (SXL) together own 38.3% of the project. Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics Partners recently announced a 36.75% stake sale in the Bakken Pipeline Project to MarEn Bakken Company, an entity jointly owned by Enbridge Energy Partners (EEP) and Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC), for $2 billion. The remaining 25% stake belongs to Phillips 66 (PSX).

The importance of the Bakken Pipeline project

The $4.8 billion Bakken Pipeline project plans to move crude oil from the Bakken Shale formation to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Without a pipeline, crude has to move by rail. Pipelines are a cheaper, safer option to move crude oil than rail, which is more prone to accidents.

Dakota Access Pipeline protests

Protesters, including Native Americans and other environmental activists, oppose the current route of the DAPL, which passes through North Dakota’s Lake Oahe. The Lake Oahe area contains both a burial site and a major source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux, who live along the Missouri River. Protesters insist that, in the event of a pipeline leak, this key water supply would be contaminated, causing health problems.

The Standing Rock Sioux claim that the Army Corps of Engineers did not conduct its review process appropriately. The federal government has ordered a stop to the work in the Lake Oahe area until the review process finishes. Construction is ongoing along the other parts of the route.

The movement has grown, with protesters gaining massive support on Facebook (FB). Moreover, protesters recently raised over $1 million in contributions through online funding to take the demonstration forward.

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