Pipeline Delays Cost Builder $83.3 Million a Month

December 7, 2016

Energy Transfer Partners said in court documents that building delays on the Dakota Access pipeline have already cost the company more than $450 million and estimates continued delays could cost $83.3 million per month.However, a report in U.S.News.com says while the stop order issued by the Army Corps of Engineers earlier this month will be expensive, industry experts don't feel the additional costs will kill the project.

Energy Transfer Partners hoped to have the pipeline in service by next month, but the Army's decision to halt construction on the tunneling segment of the line will likely hold until January's presidential inauguration, after which President-elect Trump will consider the situation.

When ETP does receive approval to proceed, the company estimates it will take between 60 and 90 days to tunnel under Lake Oahe, pushing the pipeline's completion date to May.

However, an early Spring date may still be overly optimistic because landowners in Iowa, forced to allow the Dakota Access pipeline to be constructed on their properties, have filed suit citing a 2006 Iowa law that prohibits any industry from using the state's eminent domain powers to take agricultural land. The landowners have asked the court to throw out easements granted by the Iowa Utilities Board, calling the easements illegal under the 2006 law. Arguments for the suit are set to be heard December 15 and should the group win, they want ETP to dig up and remove the pipeline on their land.

ETP has already staged the area near Lake Oahe for the tunneling segment of the pipeline but if the company is forced to reroute the line, more delays will push back the pipeline's completion.