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natural gas

Ethane power plant proposed for northwest North Dakota

Jan 13, 2021

A project is in the works to use ethane from Bakken wells to generate electricity.

Bakken Midstream Natural Gas has announced a large-scale, baseload power plant will be built near Williston. It will be called the Williston Basin Energy Center.

Natural gas is a byproduct of drilling Bakken oil wells. Ethane is a natural gas liquid.

Bakken Midstream CEO Mike Hopkins said ethane has a high-heat content, and there isn’t much demand for it.

A midstream natural gas company has applied to increase the capacity of a natural gas liquids pipeline in McKenzie and Dunn Counties.

ONEOK has applied to build two pumping stations on its Bear Creek pipeline, to increase the capacity of the pipeline from 15,000 barrels to 80,000 barrels.

It runs from the Bear Creek gas processing plant to another pipeline.

The company had applied in January, but put the project on hold. Now it wants to go ahead with the project.

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak calls it good news.

North Dakota’s Industrial Commission has made some tweaks to its natural gas capture policy, while keeping the benchmarks for gas capture in place.

The current policy requires companies to capture 88 percent of the gas produced. That rises to 91 percent by November first.

The policy amends the definition of “stranded gas,” and clarifies how the percentage of gas captured is calculated where variances are applied, and it expands when requests for variances would require public notice and a hearing.

People in Hillsboro and Mayville could soon be able to heat their homes with natural gas.

Dakota Natural Gas – a subsidiary of Greater Minnesota Gas – is proposing to bring natural gas from the Viking pipeline in Minnesota to Traill County. A big user of the gas would be the American Crystal Sugar plant, north of Hillsboro.

Dakota Natural Gas has applied to the North Dakota Public Service Commission. PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus said this will allow people to convert from more expensive propane to natural gas.

ND still working toward 91 percent natural gas capture

Apr 29, 2020

North Dakota’s Mineral Resources director said he would like to tighten up the rules on natural gas capture – so that the state’s stated goal of 91 percent capture can be met by November first.

Lynn Helms will be drafting some revisions to the Industrial Commission’s policy, to be presented to the Commission in September. Helms told the Commission this is important – because of what has happened to the oil industry in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Oil production is down because demand is down.

PSC approves CO2, natural gas liquids pipelines

Apr 2, 2020
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved a pipeline that will bring carbon dioxide from two natural gas plants in Wyoming to an oil field near Bowman.

The Cedar Hills field is a conventional oil field, with vertical drilling.

The CO2 will be used for tertiary oil recovery, meaning the CO2 would be injected to help get at oil that’s still underground.

Commission chairman Brian Kroshus called it an exciting project, because it will help the economy in Bowman and other cities in the area.

'North Bakken Expansion Project' awaiting federal OK

Mar 25, 2020

A pipeline company is awaiting federal approval of a plan to build 62 miles of natural gas pipeline in Williams, McKenzie, Mountrail and Burke Counties.

The project is known as the “North Bakken Expansion Project,” and is proposed by WBI Energy Transmission, a subsidiary of Bismarck-based MDU Resources Group.

The 24 inch diameter line would run from WBI Energy’s Tioga Compressor station to a new interconnect with the Northern Border Pipeline Company in McKenzie County. It would also include a new compressor station.

Xcel fined $12,000 for senior housing fire in 2019

Mar 6, 2020

Xcel Energy will pay a $12,000 fine for a natural gas leak that led to an explosion and fire at a Fargo senior living complex.

That fire happened January 4th, 2019 at Riverview Place. It damaged four of the 24 apartments. No one was hurt – but the building was evacuated for several hours.

The fine will be paid to the Public Service Commission.

"The gas was leaking, and wasn't vented properly," said PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus. "The gas made its way into the mechanical room. There was combustion."

Kroshus said this could have been a very serious situation.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota Mineral Resource director Lynn Helms believes the state will soon meet the Industrial Commission’s goals for natural gas capture.

The goal was to capture 88 percent of the gas, starting last November. But as of December, the rate was only 84 percent.

In his recent "Director's Cut" briefing, which covered December production, Helms said he is optimistic that the 88 percent capture goal will be met – and it’s possible that may have happened in January.

The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing in Williston on a proposal by ONEOK Bakken Pipeline to build a 75-mile-long, $100 million natural gas liquids pipeline in Williams County.

The pipeline would carry 30,000 barrels of NGLs from four natural gas processing plants in the area, connecting to existing NGL transmission lines in Montana.

"It's additional fill-in of the infrastructure needed to support natural gas processing industry, and ultimately to the reduction of flaring in the Bakken," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.