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Large pipeline planned into North Dakota

By Stan Stelter

Bismarck, ND – Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Company says it will be building a large natural gas pipeline that will go through parts of Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.

The pipeline will interconnect with others to reach Midwestern markets. The company -- a subsidiary of MDU Resources Group -- says it is the largest construction project in its history. This is MDU spokesman Dan Sharp:

"The Grasslands Pipeline Project is one that Williston Basin Pipeline Company hopes to complete about this time next year. It's 245 miles, beginning in Gillette Wyoming, or just north of Gillette, and ending in Killdeer, ND. It's a 16-inch diameter pipeline which is much bigger than the pipe the company operates... which is usually eight or 12 inches, so it's a big project for us." Sharp says the pipeline will carry mostly both coalbed methane -- which is natural gas trapped in coal seams. Large coalbed methane fields are being developed in Wyoming and Montana. Again, MDU's Dan Sharp:

"Coalbed methane reserves in Wyoming are huge, and what this pipeline does is it adds a greater amount of supply to, not only our region, but also into some of the larger metropolitant regions... Chicago, Denver, Kansas City and so forth. And so it's another project that increases the domestic supply of natural gas, brings storage levels up and will ultimately help stabilize prices for customers." The company says selection of the pipeline route is nearly done. It expects to file the project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission next month.