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natural gas

PSC okays another natural gas processing plant

May 22, 2013

An Oklahoma-based natural gas processing company now has the okay to build a third 100-million cubic feet processing plant.

One OK plans to build the plant – dubbed Garden Creek Three – in the same general area as two other processing plants. The Public Service Commission gave its go-ahead. Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says this will help reduce the flaring of natural gas produced in the Bakken.

"In North Dakota, natural gas is like the really talented stepchild," said Fedorchak. "It isn't what we're actually going for. We are an oil state, and gas is a by-prodct."

The director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority says he expects the percentage of natural gas being flared in North Dakota will be gradually reduced over the next several months.

"The thing that I watch from my office is how quickly we can get the wells connected to the gas gathering systems," said Justin Kringstad. "We're hoping that in the next 6-12 months, we'll see some pretty significant strides in how we get the wells connected, bringing that flaring percentage down."

Flaring bill defeated

Feb 14, 2013

A bill designed to end the flaring of natural gas in western North Dakota has been defeated in the North Dakota Senate.

Currently, nearily a third of the natural gas produced by oil drilling in the Bakken is flared. Under current law, a company can flare the gas for a year without penalty – and may as for a waiver.  Sen. Tim Mathern (D-Fargo) wanted to eliminate any waivers.

"I thin k we're missing out on an economic opportunity," Mathern told his Senate colleagues. "We're being wasteful of the environment, we're being wasteful of energy and the resources before us."

As oil production rises in the Bakken, so does the production of natural gas.

The problem is -- just over 30 percent of the natural gas produced in the Bakken is flared.

Natural gas power plants coming to ND?

Oct 15, 2012

Montana Dakota Utilities has filed a site request for its proposed 88-megawatt natural gas fired power plant.

The site is next to the existing Heskett coal-fired plant, just north of Mandan.

"The idea is to start construction next year, so that the plant is in operation by the peak demand of summer, 2015," said MDU spokesman Mark Hanson.

New nitrogen fertilizer plant planned for Spiritwood

Sep 13, 2012
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Plans are in the works for a nitrogen fertilizer plant to be built near Jamestown.

CHS, Incorporated – a farmer-owned cooperative – says it wants to build the plant at Spiritwood. It would be a $1.1  to $1.4 billion facility, using North Dakota natural gas to make anhydrous ammonia and other fertilizers.

"This would be a significant strategic investment for CHS," said Cooperative CEO Carl Casale. "It's the largest investment in the history of CHS. And we believe it would insure a consistent domestic nitrogen fertilizer supply for our farmer-owners."

Japanese ambassador visits ND

Aug 1, 2012
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Japanese ambassador to the United Statessays there are opportunities for expanded trade with North Dakota.

Ichiro Fujisaki visited Bismarck and Grand Forks. He met with Gov. Jack Dalrymple in Bismarck, and the two leaders talked trade. Fujisaki says there are enhanced trade opportunities with North Dakota– and one area could be liquefied natural gas.

"I think it takes a while to do that," Fujisaki told Bismarck reporters. "The US has never exported oil and gas to Japan. I can not say that we will, but it is a possibility."

As oil production drops, natural gas production climbs

Jul 23, 2012

A study of natural gas produced in the Bakken formation shows as oil production declines, natural gas production will increase.

"Traditionally with oil wells, gas production declines along with the oil decline," said North Dakota Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms. "But these Bakken wells indicate that, after they're 8 to 10 years old, the natural gas production actually starts to increase. This means we could eventually produce twice as much natural gas than we were anticipating 12, 15 years from now."

ND objects to proposed federal 'fracking' rules

Jun 28, 2012

Two federal agencies have proposed new regulations on “fracking.” The EPA and the Bureau of Land Management have issued proposed rules to regulate hydraulic fracturing – a technique widely used in the Bakken shale formation to recover oil. As Prairie Public's Dave Thompson reports, North Dakota’s Industrial Commission is opposing the rules.

"This has always been regulated at the state level," said North Dakota mineral resource director Lynn Helms. "North Dakota has primacy to regulate underground injection control."

"Ethane" pipeline to be built

Jun 21, 2012

The Public Service Commission has okayed the North Dakota portion of an unusual pipeline project. The story from Prairie Public's Dave Thompson.

The pipeline will take a byproduct of natural gas – ethane – that’s captured at the Hess plant at Tioga to a processing facility in Alberta, owned by Nova Chemicals. It’s a 430-mile pipeline – 80 miles of which are in North Dakota.

"Nova processes the ethane and uses it for polymers and plastics," said Commissioner Kevin Cramer. "A lot of food packaging, styrofoam and things like that."

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