Energy Transfer on Trump: ‘It’s Only Going to Get Better’

  • Pipeline giant expects easement from U.S. Army Corps quickly
  • That’ll open up $1.4 billion in financing for the Bakken line

Energy Transfer Partners LP said Thursday that its Dakota Access crude pipeline, plagued by protests for months, is still set to be in service by spring. Donald Trump’s election, meanwhile, means business is “only going to get better,” the company’s leader said.

Construction on the $3.8 billion line is nearly complete in North Dakota, where the pipeline giant is waiting for an easement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to drill a final segment beneath Lake Oahe, company officials said on a call with analysts. Once it receives the easement, Energy Transfer can begin a three-to-four month drilling program and draw the remaining $1.4 billion from a $2.5 billion credit facility that’s financing the project.

Energy Transfer Partners is at the center of a battle over new pipelines proposed across the U.S. Its 1,172-mile (1,886-kilometer) Dakota Access line has become a rallying point for the anti-fossil fuel movement and is facing opposition from Native Americans who say it’ll damage culturally significant sites. Trump has voiced support for energy infrastructure and has stressed the need to speed up regulatory reviews for projects.

Energy Transfer Chief Executive Officer Kelcy Warren said he was “stunned” by Trump’s victory and that the pipeline operator now finds itself in a good position. “My God, this is going to be refreshing, so I think, overall, I’m very, very enthusiastic about what’s going to happen with our country,” he said.

Energy Transfer’s under no legal obligation to stop construction on the Dakota Access project and hasn’t voluntarily agreed to do so, despite requests from the U.S. Army Corps, company officials said. It has finished 84 percent of the project and is pushing ahead with construction wherever it’s permitted, including in Iowa.

Energy Transfer said gaining the easement from the Army Corps also satisfies the closing conditions for its sale of a stake in the project and that it’s “confident” it’ll receive it.

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