Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



$1.5 billion fertilizer plant to be built near Grand Forks

North Dakota corn growers are planning a $1 billion nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing plant to be built near Grand Forks in rural Grand Forks County.

Applying anhydrous ammonia
Ammonia is applied Monday to a field near 60th Avenue South and 3rd Street South, Moorhead. A Sunday ammonia leak in that area injured 13 people. (Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service)

North Dakota corn growers are planning a $1 billion nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing plant to be built near Grand Forks in rural Grand Forks County.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown will make a formal announcement Thursday.

The plant will produce nitrogen fertilizer by converting gas currently being flared from oil wells in western North Dakota, according to Tom Lilja, president of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association. Other details will be released during Thursday's news conference.

The facility, which has been estimated to cost between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, could supply fertilizer for up to 12 percent of corn and wheat acreage in North and South Dakota and Minnesota, Lilja said last summer, when the group initially announced plans to build a plant somewhere in North Dakota.

The plant will address two problems, according to the corn growers: It would use natural gas that now is flared off -- or wasted -- in western North Dakota, while providing farmers in the region with a guaranteed supply of fertilizer without relying on imports.


About 30 percent of the natural gas produced as a byproduct of crude oil production in North Dakota is burned off at the well site because the facilities for capturing it are not in place, according to the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division.

The natural gas would be captured and transported from the Oil Patch to the Grand Forks plant via pipelines.

Regional market

The group plans to market and distribute nitrogen fertilizer and other commercial products to farmers and industries in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, as well as Manitoba and Saskatchewan, according to a grant application to the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission.

APUC approved a $100,000 marketing and utilization grant last year.

The group, which received initial funding from a consortium of regional commodity groups, also commissioned a feasibility study that was completed last year by North Dakota State University.

While the group initially intended to build a smaller plant, the NDSU study said that a $1 billion facility would be the ideal size economically.

The NDSU study said that a $1.3 billion plant could produce about 750,000 tons of nitrogen fertilizer annually.


Currently, there are no nitrogen fertilizer manufacturing plants in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota or Montana, according to an article last July in The Western Producer a Canadian agriculture publication. The nearest plant, in Brandon, Man., is about half the size of the proposed Grand Forks facility.

CHS Inc., working with North Dakota Farmers Union, is also planning to build $1.4 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant in Spiritwood, N.D., also using flared gas from oil production.

Call Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1110; or send email to kbonham@gfherald.com .

What To Read Next
Get Local