Tester backing new pipeline to move Montana oil to market

Senator says project will increase nation’s energy security, put Montanans to work

(MISSOULA, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester is doubling his efforts to bring more Montana oil to market and increase America’s energy security.

Tester is supporting the proposed Bakken Crude Express Pipeline that will run 1,300 miles to Cushing, Oklahoma.  The pipeline, planned by the energy company ONEOK, will increase the value of Bakken oil by expanding shipping capacity by an additional 200,000 barrels of oil per day.

Tester, who also backs responsible development of the Keystone XL Pipeline, says building the oil pipeline will greatly reduce the oil shipping limitations currently restricting eastern Montana’s energy companies.

“In my visits to the Bakken, one of the issues I hear most is the need to construct infrastructure to support the responsible development of this oil field,” Tester wrote ONEOK’s President Terry Spencer.  “Respecting the needs of production agriculture and private property rights, I urge you to work with local landowners to come to mutually beneficial agreements to make this pipeline a successful venture.”

Bakken oil is currently trading $6 below West Texas Intermediate and $20 to $30 below Brent, two other light crude oils. 

Tester also called for the energy company to use Montana workers to survey and construct the pipeline, saying Montanans are “highly skilled, efficient and well-trained.”  He highlighted the state’s “world-class” training programs, community colleges and vocational schools.

Tester also supports ONEOK’s planned natural gas pipeline that will connect the Bakken to a pipeline in southern Wyoming.  In Montana, the two pipelines will run parallel to each other, running due south from Sidney.

Tester has voted to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline three times, saying that once the pipeline is built, its oil should be used to support American families and small businesses.

Oil production in the Bakken formation, which straddles the border of Montana and North Dakota, has risen 150 percent since 2005.  The region now produces over 500,000 barrels per day.

Tester’s letter to ONEOK President Terry Spencer is available online HERE.