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Investors Delay $2-Billion Cash Infusion for Dakota Access Pipeline

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lars plougmann/Flickr [1]

lars plougmann/Flickr

The financing behind the intensely controversial Dakota Access pipeline became a little more uncertain at year’s end, as joint venture partners Enbridge Energy Partners L.P. and Marathon Petroleum Corporation filed for a three-month extension on their plan to buy a major stake in the project.

The two companies “now have until March 31 to back out of the deal, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing,” the Duluth News Tribune reports. They had planned to pay US$2 billion for a 49% stake in Bakken Holdings Co. Ltd., which would give them 37.5% ownership of the pipeline itself.

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“The Enbridge/Marathon purchase was announced August 2, just before pipeline protests erupted around a river crossing north of the Standing Rock Reservation,” the News Tribune recalls. “Since, protesters have celebrated a major though possibly short-lived victory [3] as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [last] month denied an easement necessary for the pipeline to cross a dammed section of the Missouri River called Lake Oahe.”

Referring to the end-of-year SEC filing, the paper adds that “none of the companies involved cite a reason to push back the termination date in SEC filings, though uncertainty over the project’s future could play a part.”

Although U.S. president-elect and former Energy Transfer Partners shareholder [4] Donald Trump is expected to support the project, the project’s financial fragility [5] has been receiving more attention in recent weeks. Before the holiday, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis was out with a recap [6] of the complex wheeling and dealing behind the pipeline.