Document Type

Honors Project On-Campus Access Only


The past few years have witnessed a heated debate on the construction of large pipelines for transporting crude oil, particularly as the development of fracking has created new production booms. While many argue that the risk of spills is too great to justify large pipelines, others contend that the alternative—transporting large volumes of crude oil by rail—entails a higher risk of spills and greater emissions. One question often overlooked is whether the construction of a pipeline changes the location of drilling within an oilproducing region. This question has implications for local pollution in particular, because if a region near a newly constructed pipeline experiences an increase in fracking, it will also experience an increase in the associated pollution. Given the uncertainties around the environmental damages associated with fracking, the stakes involved in producers’ choice of where to drill are potentially high. Using well-level production data from the Bakken region of North Dakota, this paper examines the effect of the Dakota Access pipeline on the location of fracking in ND. Using a difference-in-differences regression specification, I find that the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline does not appear to have changed the location of drilling within the Bakken region.



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