Petrochemical plant

Gov. Jack Dalrymple listens as Bill Gilliam, CEO of Badlands NGL's LLC, announces the company's plans for a $4 billion to $4.2 billion petrochemical plant in North Dakota on Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, in Bismarck. 

Photo by Mike Nowatzki / Forum News Service

BISMARCK, N.D. -- State leaders joined with officials Monday in the state Capitol to announce a proposed multi-billion-dollar petrochemical plant which was called a huge opportunity to capitalize on adding value to natural gas being produced in the state.

Touted as the largest private investment in North Dakota history, Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced plans for a $4 billion to $4.2 billion plant being developed by Badlands NGL’s, LLC.

Financing and the location for the proposed plant are still being finalized; both are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Once completed the plant would have a capacity to convert 1.5 million metric tons, or approximately 3.3 billion pounds, of ethane into polyethylene per year. The facility would lead to the creation of approximately 500 jobs.

Dalrymple said the potential for value-added products and industry in the state is huge in the energy sector and that the Badlands NGL’s LLC project could be a huge first step in capitalizing on that potential.

“Value-added is a term we feel we almost invented here in North Dakota in terms of agriculture,” Dalrymple said. “Today we are working on the same kind of strategy for our energy resources.”

Badlands NGL’s LLC chief executive officer Bill Gilliam said the company is looking at several potential locations for the plant. The company has ruled out building it in the state”s oil patch region, although Gilliam didn’t specify why.

“We think building a facility like this in the Williston Basin is not a good idea,” Gilliam said.

He said the plant will be located in the southern or eastern part of the state on a site with a footprint of at least 1,000 acres.

Gilliam said the company hopes to finalize plans, complete the permitting process and have the plant built and in production by the end of 2017.

“It’s a very aggressive schedule,” Gilliam said.

The material can be used in the creation of hundreds of different plastic products such as plastic bags and bottles as well as piping.

With the majority of manufacturing facilities in the United States for converting natural gas liquids located in the Gulf Coast region, Gilliam was questioned on the need for such a plant in North Dakota.

“Why North Dakota? There’s lots of ethane in the U.S. and there’s lots of ethane in North Dakota,” Gilliam said.

Annual global production of polyethylene is approximately 80 million metric tons.

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.

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