PSC approves natural gas plant expansion in McKenzie County

Jul 27, 2017

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (l), Randy Christmann and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A natural gas plant in McKenzie County will be undergoing a $150 million expansion.

The Public Service Commission has okayed Oasis Midstream’s expansion of its Wild Basin Plant. The plant will go from processing 80 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to processing 280 million cubic feet per day.

The original plant came on line in 2016. Because of that, PSC chairman Randy Christmann said the application raised some questions.

"I had concerns that this was an effort to avert our siting authority," Christmann said. "The company built something there, and then said 'This is just an addition' which doesn't need a siting case."

The original plant fell under the 100 million cubic feet siting threshold.

But Christmann said at the hearing, the company had a good explanation for this fairly quick expansion. He said it was due to the changing landscape in the Bakken.

"A lot of things had slowed down, but not in that Wild Basin area," Christmann said. "It's the core area of the Bakken, east of Watford City, where additional drilling, fracking and expansion has continued to occur."

Christmann said it's also the area where the wells have the highest gas production.

"So by the end of last year, they (Oasis) could see that the amount of gas being produced in the region had exploded."

Oasis still needs an air quality permit. But the company hopes construction can begin yet this fall.