By Sydney Mook, Forum News Services
The Bismarck tribune
KILLDEER — A new natural gas processing facility north of Killdeer has been completed and is running at 50 percent capacity, officials say.
The Bear Creek natural gas processing facility, which was built and is run by ONEOK, will process 80 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.
Construction on the approximately plant — which is estimated at costing between $265 million and $375 million, though final numbers have not been disclosed — was completed in August and will be processing natural gas produced in the Bakken shale formation.
“It’s a long-range plant that will produce gas for many communities and I would think sometime in the future it would expand and even grow,” he said.
The plant was built near existing ONEOK natural gas gathering, compression and residue takeaway facilities in Dunn County.
ONEOK has 10 other facilities across western North Dakota, most of which are located in McKenzie County. The Tulsa, Okla.-based corporation’s largest facility is the Lonesome Creek plant near Alexander, which has a capacity of 200 million cubic feet per day.
ONEOK communications consultant Stephanie Higgins said the Bear Creek plant will help alleviate pipeline inefficiencies in an area challenged by geographical constraints and severe terrain.
“This plant allows us to respond more quickly to accommodate our customers’ growing crude-oil and natural gas production on acreage dedicated to us in the area,” Higgins said in an email.
While it is not clear how many people Bear Creek will employ, Dukart said the plant is not only beneficial to those around Killdeer and Dunn County, but also to those in Dickinson who commute to work there.
“It will create jobs. It will keep jobs in the area,” Dukart said. “I think both Killdeer and Dickinson will benefit from this because I know some of the present people that work there who live in Dickinson.”
Alison Ritter, public information officer for the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, said the state has been talking about the plant coming online for quite sometime.
In September 2015, the state Industrial Commission revised its gas capture targets. Starting Nov. 1, companies will be expected to capture 85 percent of the gas a well site produces, Ritter said.
“Having this expanded capacity will be helpful, especially for the industry going forward,” she said.
The number of natural gas processing plants in the state has increased significantly in the past 10 years. In 2006, there were eight facilities online. That number has increased to 28 plants with a total processing capacity of 2.01 billion cubic feet per day.
Ritter said the natural gas industry has been able to finally catch up with oil in North Dakota, partly due to the Flaring Task Force, which put the natural gas industry in talks with oil companies.
“When this all started, there was not a clear understanding of how much natural gas would be produced alongside the oil,” Ritter said. “Due to lack of infrastructure and lack of processing plants, the natural gas industry was just way behind and they have since caught up tremendously.”