Dakota Access oil pipeline doesn’t faze big rail shippers

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Pipeline image from MGN

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The two biggest railroads shipping oil from North Dakota don’t seem particularly concerned that the Dakota Access pipeline may be about to come online.

Crude shipments make up only a small percentage of the business that BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway do in the state.

The pipeline could begin operating as soon as next week, despite an unresolved legal dispute involving two Native American tribes seeking to shut it down. At capacity, it will be able to transport half of the oil production of North Dakota to a shipping point in Illinois.

Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, says it currently costs about $6 per barrel to ship by pipeline and about $10 per barrel to ship by rail.

That isn’t likely to concern BNSF or Canadian Pacific that much, as they ship more coal and commodities than crude.

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