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Gas processing plant to bring jobs to area

Posted 10/13/10 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

 Like most of western North Dakota, the McKenzie County skyline is dotted with gas flares, something that most people associate with an active oil well. However, a gas flare means a lot more than just a well sight. The flares are an example of waste, a waste of natural gas that instead of being used to heat homes, is being burned off because there is nowhere else for it to go. Unlike oil, natural gas cannot be trucked to the nearest gas plant for processing. A gas-gathering pipeline and processing plant infrastructure must be in place to condition the natural gas for retail use.
ONEOK, Inc., a leader in the gathering, processing, storage and transportation of natural gas in  the United States, has began construction on a new gas processing facility in McKenzie County that will soon help reduce the amount of natural gas that is going to waste.
The new Garden Creek Plant, a 100 million cubic foot per day natural gas processing facility is estimated to cost between $150 million and $210 million. The new plant which will be located northeast of Watford City will double the partnership’s natural gas processing capacity in the Williston Basin.
“The site is currently being graded and leveled in preparation for construction,” says Brad Borror, ONEOK company spokesperson. “Construction is set to begin as soon as all of the permits and certificates have been secured. We expect to have the plant completed in the fourth quarter of 2011.”
In addition to keeping natural gas from going to waste, the plant will also bring 25 permanent full-time jobs to McKenzie County once the plant is operational and 75 to 100 temporary workers will be needed during the construction phase of the project.
ONEOK Partners, L.P. is the largest independent operator of natural gas gathering and processing facilities in the Bakken Shale region, with a gathering system of more than 3,500 miles. In March 2009, it completed a $46 million expansion of its Grasslands natural gas processing facility in McKenzie County, and since 2007 has invested more than $80 million in new well connections and related infrastructure upgrades to existing natural gas gathering systems in the region.
In addition to the construction of a new natural gas processing plant, ONEOK Partners’ natural gas gathering and processing segment will invest an additional $200 million to $205 million during 2010 and 2011 for new well connections, expansions and upgrades to its existing natural gas gathering system infrastructure in the Bakken Shale.
“The Garden Creek Plant will be a big asset to the area,” adds Borror. “When complete, the plant will allow ONEOK to meet the growing needs of producers in the area as well as add good jobs to the area.”