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Energy & Environment

$4 billion plant proposed for ND

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

A plant is being proposed for North Dakota to take ethane from the Williston Basin oil fields and convert it to polyethylene.

"That's the building block for most plastics," Gov. Jack Dalrymple said at a Bismarck news conference. A company called Badlands NGL is planning to spend around $4 billion on the plant – making it the largest private equity investment in North Dakota history.

"We believe right now that, by building a polyethylene facility, which we hope to have on-line by 2017, this is going to be a major part of the reduction in flaring that the government is quite serious about working with industry to make happen," said Badlands NGL CEO William Gilliam. He says the plan is to choose the site for the plant by early next year -- and it will likely be in southern or eastern North Dakota.

"We understand it is a very aggressive schedule," Gilliam said. "But nonetheless, it's on that our engineers say, as long as we do everything we should when we say we should, we can meet that schedule."

The plant will employ 500 people.  Dalrymple said it's an example of "value added energy."

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