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Good Question: What Happens To North Dakota’s Oil?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
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Popular Good Questions

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With gas prices rising some lawmakers are talking about increasing domestic production of oil as a possible solution. Those of us in Minnesota are looking at the success of oil exploration efforts in North Dakota and asking: What’s happening to all of North Dakota’s oil?

According to Justin Kringstead, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, North Dakota is producing 530,000 barrels of oil every day. They have dreams of pumping 1 million.

About 6 percent of North Dakota’s oil goes to a pipeline in Canada, 10 percent stays within the state at its only refinery in Mandan. The rest, around 75 percent, goes to refineries around the U.S.

North Dakota’s oil goes to terminals in Clearbrook, Minn., Guernsey, Wyo., Cushing, Okla., and St. James, La., where oil is purchased by refineries in those areas.

But that oil isn’t having much of an impact on the global pricing market, Kringstead said.

“The crude oil market, the refined products market, those are global markets — on a much greater scale than what North Dakota is producing,” he said.

North Dakota’s 530,000 barrels a day is a drop compared to the 7.7 million barrels we import every day, according to Kringstead.

He said it’s difficult to know what happens to the gasoline after it’s been refined, but it’s generally believed that North Dakota’s oil ends up in the United States.

“The US as a whole is a net importer. The new oil out of North Dakota is helping offset other oil fields that may be declining,” Kringstead said.

“The U.S. is increasing,” he said. “North Dakota has been a part of that.”

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