Company says they can cut flaring in the Bakken by building chemical industry

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North Dakota continues to flare billions of cubic feet of natural gas every month, falling well short of goals set by the state. Now Bakken Midstream is looking to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to capture that gas and use it instead.

CEO Mike Hopkins says the issues facing North Dakota are almost identical to the ones facing Alberta in the 1970s. According to the company’s website, Alberta has $40 billion invested in infrastructure by more than 40 companies, creating a new chemical industry. Hopkins says a petro-chemical industry in North Dakota would cut the state’s flaring of natural gas from roughly 20 percent to 3 percent.

“We know from discussions with investors that this opportunity is very attractive to outside capital. I think North Dakota, not just this opportunity, but North Dakota as a place is a great investment environment for investors,” said Hopkins.

“This type of industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. These are big, big investments and serious players,” said Ron Ness, President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

Ness says the potential industry could manufacture fertilizer and polypropylene beads.

The type of projects Bakken Midstream wants to do would determine what regulatory hurdles they it face in the long term. Hopkins says the company is still working on exactly what type of projects they’ll look at, but expects them to be distributed instead of centered in one location. He also called the state’s regulatory environment in the state is “collaborative” and “the work we’re doing aligns with the public interest of North Dakota.”