An expansion is proposed for a natural gas processing plant in the most prolific part of the Bakken.
Oasis Midstream aims to expand the Wild Basin Gas Plant in McKenzie County, a plan that would make the facility the largest natural gas processing complex in North Dakota.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 9 a.m. Friday at Teddy’s Residential Suites in Watford City.
Even as oil production has leveled off, North Dakota continues to see growth in natural gas production as drillers concentrate on the core of the Bakken where wells produce more gas.
North Dakota produced an average of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in April, the most recent figure available, representing a new all-time high for the state.
The plant, about 6 miles northeast of Watford City, processes 80 million cubic feet per day. With the expansion, Oasis proposes to construct a complex next to the existing plant that would add an additional processing capacity of 265 million cubic feet per day, for a total of 345 million cubic feet per day.
By comparison, Hess Corp.’s Tioga gas plant processes up to 250 million cubic feet per day.
Wells in northeast McKenzie County, where the Wild Basin facility is located, produce greater volumes of gas than wells in other areas of the Bakken, according to Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority.
“There’s a lot of gas that’s currently being produced and anticipated,” he said.
Additional gas plants and other infrastructure are needed in that area to capture the gas and reduce flaring, Kringstad said.
“In order for the state to continue meeting those gas capture goals, projects like this are absolutely necessary,” he said.
Producers flared about 10.4 percent of natural gas produced in April, according to the Department of Mineral Resources.
If the expansion is approved, construction on the $140 million Wild Basin facility is expected to begin this year, with 100 to 300 temporary workers needed, according to information filed with the Public Service Commission.
Oasis also proposes to expand a crude oil handling facility that is part of the same complex.
Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said commissioners will review several factors, including the environmental impact of the expansion and additional safety measures planned for a larger facility.
The public will have the opportunity to comment during Friday’s hearing. For more information about the proposal, visit psc.nd.gov.