Thursday, September 9, 2010

North Dakota Says Yes to Natural Gas

Hess Corp. was granted permission Wednesday to begin a $500 million expansion of its natural gas processing plant in northwestern North Dakota.
The plant, which was first built in the 1950s, can process 120 million cubic feet of natural gas daily. Hess is upgrading the factory to handle 250 million cubic feet each day, which will help meet demand for processing the increased natural gas production coming from western North Dakota's oil fields.
North Dakota's Public Service Commission on Wednesday approved the site plans for the expansion, which will be located about a mile east of Tioga in Williams County. Kevin Cramer, chairman of the state Public Service Commission, said the project represents a $500 million investment.
The improved factory will be equipped to recover ethane from the natural gas, PSC filings say. Ethane is used as a refrigerant and in chemical manufacturing.
Commissioner Tony Clark said Hess intends to begin construction in July 2011 and finish by mid-2013. It will take 300 to 500 workers to build the project, and the company intends to bring in portable housing to avoid making a local housing shortage even worse, Clark said.
"They do have a plan to bring in a temporary camp ... to take care of the housing and infrastructure needs for those individuals, so it doesn't become an even greater strain on that area," Clark said.

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