* FERC considering complaint that Enbridge blocking access
* Lawmaker Peterson says new pipeline capacity "critical"
By Russ Blinch
WASHINGTON, July 19 A Democratic U.S. lawmaker
called on federal regulatory authorities to ensure
"discriminatory practices" were not blocking construction of new
pipelines to transport oil from the booming oil play of North
"Currently, only one pipeline runs eastward across North
Dakota to Minnesota, and there is a critical need for additional
pipeline capacity to support oil production in this region,"
Minnesota Representative Collin Peterson wrote in a letter to
Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory
"We need to ensure that new market participants have open
access to the common carrier pipelines located across the
country and are given the same treatment as more established
Although Peterson did not mention any companies by name,
High Prairie Pipeline LLC has filed a formal complaint with FERC
saying Canada's Enbridge Inc was being discriminatory
in refusing an interconnection with its existing line in
High Prairie is proposing a 450-mile pipeline from North
Dakota to Clearbrook, Minnesota where it would connect with the
Enbridge line, which would help deliver surging crude production
from the Bakken oil shale play.
In the complaint filed with FERC, High Prairie, a unit of
Saddle Butte Pipeline LLC, accuses Enbridge of discrimination
by not allowing a connection even though Enbridge has capacity
to carry High Prairie's proposed flow of 150,000 barrels per day
"Yet Enbridge Energy has thus far refused to grant High
Prairie an interconnection, except on proposed terms that are
unjust, unreasonable, and unduly discriminatory," High Prairie
said in the complaint filed in May.
FERC is considering the complaint from High Prairie,
according to a FERC spokesperson.
Enbridge said High Prairie's allegations were "unfounded"
and that it had already spent $1 billion over the past seven
years to accommodate rising production from North Dakota.
"Enbridge agrees that all market participants should operate
on a level playing field, however, in this case it is High
Prairie which is attempting to have the playing field changed in
their favor simply because they chose to reject several
reasonable alternatives...," company spokeswoman Lorraine Little
Canada's Enbridge recently came under fire from a U.S.
transportation authority for its handling of the massive oil
pipeline spill in Michigan in 2010.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said there was
a complete breakdown in the company's safety measures while its
employees performed like "Keystone Kops," trying to contain it.