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Natural gas liquids pipeline proposed for northwest North Dakota

Natural gas liquids pipeline proposed for northwest North Dakota


A 77-mile pipeline proposed for northwest North Dakota would transport natural gas liquids from a processing plant under construction in McKenzie County.

Oneok is seeking a permit from the North Dakota Public Service Commission for the Demicks Lake Pipeline Project.

The pipeline would transport 40,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day from the Oneok Demicks Lake natural gas processing plant near Watford City to Richland County, Mont., where the larger Elk Creek Pipeline will be constructed.

Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, said the proposal is another piece of the puzzle for reducing natural gas flaring in the state. Currently, North Dakota does not have sufficient pipeline capacity to transport natural gas liquids.

“Having an adequate means of moving those NGLs to market is critical to that overall gas capture solution,” Kringstad said.

Seventy-five miles of the Demicks Lake Pipeline are in North Dakota, including nine miles that would cross the Little Missouri National Grassland. About 70 percent of the North Dakota route is co-located with existing infrastructure, according to the company's permit application.

Oneok said the project will cost about $125 million.

The natural gas plants known as Demicks Lake I and Demicks Lake II are under construction northeast of Watford City. The combined projects would add a total processing capacity of 400 million cubic feet per day. Demicks Lake I is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2019.

Meanwhile, the 900-mile Elk Creek Pipeline is under construction to transport Bakken natural gas liquids from Sidney, Mont., to a terminal in Bushton, Kan. That project has a capacity of up to 240,000 barrels per day.

Both the Demicks Lake and the Elk Creek pipelines would transport Y-grade natural gas liquids, which means the natural gas liquids are mixed together for transportation and later separated into products such as ethane and propane.

Construction on the southern end of the Elk Creek Pipeline is underway with the remainder of construction expected to start next spring.

North Dakota produced nearly 2.6 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in October. About 20 percent was flared due to inadequate infrastructure.

Kringstad estimates the state’s natural gas liquids production at about 500,000 barrels per day, with the total pipeline capacity at 400,000 barrels per day.

The Public Service Commission has not yet scheduled a hearing on the pipeline proposal. Oneok proposes to start construction in February with completion expected by the end of 2019, according to the application.

(Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or


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