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ExxonMobil’s XTO unit has agreed to gather Bakken shale oil production into a new crude oil gathering system being built by a subsidiary of CenterPoint Energy. The agreement is the first secured for the proposed pipeline, which will have a capacity of 19,500 bopd. It underscores the rapid build-up of infrastructure taking place in the shale plays, which underpin a big boost in U.S. oil output. The Bakken shale has turned North Dakota into the second-largest U.S. producer of crude, after Texas. Limited infrastructure in the region has led many producers there to ship their oil via rail, and the bottleneck has produced a discount in the price of crude extracted in the region.The state is expanding its pipeline network to cope with these challenges.
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