Flares burn off excess natural gas from oil well sites. 

Bismarck, N.D. — A new natural gas pipeline is proposed for the core of the Bakken.

MDU Resources Group has announced that subsidiary WBI Energy plans to construct the North Bakken Expansion Project, adding 67 miles of pipeline in Williams and McKenzie counties.

The project will transport natural gas that has been processed from the Tioga area to a new connection with Northern Border Pipeline in McKenzie County. The $220 million project also includes two compressor facilities and other related infrastructure.

Trevor Hastings, president and CEO of WBI Energy, said in a statement the expansion will meet the natural gas transportation needs in the Bakken.

“We are working with our customers to meet these needs as the industry focuses on reducing natural gas flaring while growing production volumes,” Hastings said Friday.

North Dakota produced an average of 2.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in November, a figure that’s projected to continue breaking records. Operators flared about 527 million cubic feet per day due to inadequate infrastructure.

Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, said the North Bakken Expansion Project is critical to transporting natural gas within the state and relieving a transportation bottleneck in the core of the Bakken.

The proposed pipeline would transport 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas to the Northern Border Pipeline. It could be expanded to transport up to 375 million cubic feet per day if there’s enough demand.

The final route has not been finalized. The project would involve using horizontal directional drilling to install pipeline under Lake Sakakawea, said Laura Lueder, manager of communications and public relations for MDU Resources Group.

The project needs approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The environmental review is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2019. If permitting is approved, construction is expected to begin in early 2021 and be completed late that year.

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