An expansion of a natural gas processing plant received a green light from the North Dakota Public Service Commission on Monday, but regulators ordered the company to minimize noise and light impacts for neighboring landowners.

The commission voted unanimously to approve Kinder Morgan’s application to expand the Roosevelt Gas Plant in McKenzie County, a $150 million project.

The current plant about 7½ miles south of Watford City processes 50 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Hiland Partners Holdings, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, plans to construct an additional plant at the same location to process another 150 million cubic feet per day.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak called the project an important piece of new infrastructure.

“It’s another important project to reduce flaring in the Bakken, to help accommodate the massive amount of gas that’s being produced along with the crude oil in the Bakken,” Fedorchak said.

During a public hearing in September in Watford City, landowners who live within a mile of the plant said they’d never been contacted by the company about the proposed expansion.

Denton Zubke, who said he lives about 700 feet from the plant, said during the hearing that noise from the Roosevelt Gas Plant on certain days “is just barely tolerable.” Zubke also raised concerns about flood lights used during construction and a flare from the plant that at times lights up the front of his house.

In their order, commissioners directed the company to take all “reasonable measures” to mitigate the impact of lighting and noise during construction and manage the flare to minimize impacts to adjacent landowners.

Commissioners also directed the company to provide landowners with contact information for company representatives to address concerns during construction and operation of the project.

Katherine Hill, a spokeswoman for Kinder Morgan, said in a statement that the company is taking steps to minimize the impact of noise, such as reducing the amount of gas-fired equipment. The company also has been in discussions with landowners to address concerns with light or noise, she said.

The project is expected to begin operating in November 2019, Fedorchak said.

Construction will begin as soon as all required permits are obtained, Hill said.

The company’s application for an air quality permit is being reviewed by the North Dakota Department of Health, said Terry O’Clair, director of the Division of Air Quality.

North Dakota oil and gas companies produced a record 2.5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in September, exceeding the capacity of natural gas processing plants. Companies flared a record 457 million cubic feet per day of natural gas that month due to insufficient infrastructure to capture and process the gas.

The Roosevelt Gas Plant expansion is one of six significant gas plant projects or expansions under construction or in development in North Dakota.

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(Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or Amy.Dalrymple@bismarcktribune.com)

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