PSC: Kudos to MDU for natural gas expansion projects

May 21, 2018

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (i); chairman Randy Christmann; and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission are commending MDU for its natural gas expansion projects.

MDU is building a pipeline from the existing Alliance Pipeline to Gwinner, to serve the Doosan Bobcat plant. It is also building a pipeline to connect its Williston Basin line to the Viking pipeline in western Minnesota.

Some communities have said businesses won’t expand or locate because of a lack of natural gas service.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak has long pushed for natural gas expansion.

"It isn't easy to get that infrastructure out to rural areas, because the population base to justify the cost doesn't wash out," Fedorchak said.

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said he expects more expansion of natural gas service.

"We'll continue to see more areas provided with natural gas service, simply because of the price point of natural gas compared to propane," Kroshus said.

But Commission chairman Randy Christmann said the growth of production of natural gas liquids will start to make that price differential between natural gas and propane less important.

"It is going to mean better availability of both natural gas and propane," Christmann said. "So in the areas where it doesn't come together to add natural gas, it should also either drive down cost or limit cost increases in propane."