The U.S. Department of Transportation’s pipeline regulator on July 22 put the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), Energy Transfer LP, on notice for probable violations of safety regulations and proposed a civil penalty against it.
The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) notice listed probable violations ranging from the location of storm water drainage at six pipeline facilities and failure to follow assessment guidelines relating to possible incidents in sensitive areas where the pipeline operates.
The PHMSA recommended a civil penalty of $93,200 against the company for the violations and said failure to correct the issues may result in further enforcement action.
In June, a U.S. district court closed a long-running case against the DAPL, a 570,000-bbl/d pipeline out of North Dakota that travels under a Missouri River reservoir, but allowed for Native American tribes and other opponents of the line to file additional actions against it.
Energy Transfer was not immediately available to comment.
“An oil spill from this pipeline would be devastating to our drinking water supply and that of millions of people downstream, placing us all in harm's way. That's why we have opposed DAPL from the very beginning and fought its continued operation at every turn,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s vice chairman, Ira Taken Alive, said in a statement issued on July 22 by Earthjustice group, which represents the tribe in the lawsuit.
Crude oil inventories in the U.S. now sit at their lowest levels since October 2018, and that tightness, along with strong demand, has helped drive oil prices higher.
“The oil market no longer appears to be viewing the issue of the Delta variant with quite the same alarm as it was at the beginning of last week,” said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
Brent crude was down 71 cents, or 1%, at $71.54 a barrel by 0939 GMT, having risen 1.7% on Aug. 25.