Although federal regulators have not given the go-ahead to Energy Transfer Partners, the company announced yesterday it has started moving heavy equipment to Lake Oahe, S.D., despite requests by federal agencies to delay the project as the US government reassesses permits and considers possible reroutes.
In September, the government halted Energy Transfer's operations and requested the company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe on the upper Missouri River.
Energy Transfer defied the government's request and has continued construction to within a few miles of the reservoir. Energy Transfer Partners intends to drill under the lake, which is the fourth-largest fresh water reservoir by volume in the U.S. Opponents to the pipeline build say an oil leak into the river would be catastrophic.
Meanwhile, companies financing the pipeline are pressuring Energy Transfer to find a solution to the complaints from Native American tribes whose burial sites are located on or near the construction route. Norwegian bank DNB released a statement saying it will reconsider its participation in the financing of the Dakota Access pipeline if concerns raised by Native American tribes against its construction are not addressed.
"DNB looks with worry at how the situation around the pipeline in North Dakota has developed. The bank will therefore take initiative and use its position to bring about a more constructive process to find a solution to the conflict," Norway's largest bank said in a statement. "If these initiatives do not give appeasing answers and results, DNB will consider its further involvement in the financing of the project." Oil and Gas Investor.com reports DNB is responsible for 10-percent of the pipeline's financing.
Citigroup also reported it had discussed its concerns with Energy Transfer Partners and urged it to reach a resolution with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Other financial institutions providing direct funding to the Dakota Pipeline include Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, SunTrust, Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Mizuho Bank, TD Securities, and ABN AMRO Capital.
Energy Transfer expects to begin tunneling in two weeks.