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Plans announced for gas pipeline, processing plant in Williams County

Outrigger Energy II LLC has inked long-term deal with oil drilling firm XTO Energy Inc. to service its production in the county, according to a news release.

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An oil jack extracts crude from the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota. Forum News Service file photo
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BISMARCK — A Denver energy company announced plans Tuesday, Jan. 7, to build a 70-mile gas pipeline and a cryogenic gas processing plant in the heart of North Dakota's Bakken Formation.

Outrigger Energy II intends to build the pipeline from the eastern part of the county near Tioga to the western edge of the county near the North Dakota-Montana border. The company has inked a long-term deal with oil drilling firm and ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy to service its gas production in the county, according to a news release.

Natural gas is produced during the drilling process, but North Dakota oil producers have "flared off" a high percentage of the gas due to infrastructural challenges of capturing all of it. Flaring reached a record high in June last year when producers burned off 24% of all gas produced during the month. The North Dakota Industrial Commission has set out a goal to flare only 9% by November 2020.

The proposed plant would process 250 million cubic feet per day and help fight the flaring problem, said Alex Woodruff, Outrigger's senior vice president of business development. The end product would be ethane, propane, butane and natural gasoline, and the plant could potentially be expanded to handle a bigger volume, he said.

The company still has to acquire government permits before it starts building the pipeline and plant, but Woodruff said much of the equipment has been purchased or ordered. Woodruff said the company plans for the facilities to be operational by the end of this year. Woodruff would not say how the project will cost.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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