North Dakota state legislature approves initial funding for west-to-east pipeline
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - With experts predicting a natural gas bottleneck in a few years, state officials are looking for ways to increase their capacity. During last week’s special session in Bismarck, legislators approved $150 million towards construction of a pipeline that would bring natural gas from the Bakken to the eastern part of the state.
North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad said this pipeline could provide up to 250 million cubic feet of natural gas to the Red River Valley for heating and agriculture projects. Legislators said the biggest benefit of a west-east pipeline is to keep natural gas produced in North Dakota in the state.
“We’re actually sending North Dakota gas through the northern border pipeline that goes through Iowa, and Iowa is using North Dakota gas to build ag processing plants in Iowa, that could be in North Dakota,” said Sen. Brad Bekkedahl, R-Williston.
The $150 million is being used as a show of support to interested companies and Bekkedahl said an additional $150 million will be needed from the state for this $1 billion project. Before that can happen, he suggested that the legislature needs to hear more information to properly size the pipeline.
“My take when we left there was, ‘Let’s get a study done and then before we put in the next $150 million, we have a better idea of what we are buying,” said Bekkedahl.
The state’s industrial commission is tasked with seeking requests from interested companies. WBI energy is one company interested in this project according to Bekkedahl.
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