BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Canadian energy company announced Thursday a plan to build North Dakota’s first factory designed to turn natural gas into liquid fuels, a move that also is aimed at curbing the wasteful burning of the gas that’s a byproduct of oil production.
Calgary-based Cerilon Inc. and Gov. Doug Burgum said the $2.8 billion project in Trenton in western North Dakota is intended to convert natural gas to fuels such as low-sulfer diesel and military-grade jet fuel.
North Dakota Commerce Commissioner James Leiman said the state approved a $3 million loan for the project Thursday.
The project would produce about 1 million gallons (4.5 million liters) of liquid fuels daily, officials said.
North Dakota, the nation’s No. 3 oil producer behind Texas and New Mexico, produced an average of 2.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in August, the latest figures available. State regulators reported that 92% of the gas was captured but the remainder went up in flames due to flaring.
Leiman said the proposed plant has the “potential to drastically lower that.”
Less than 1% of natural gas is flared from oil fields nationwide, and less than 3% worldwide, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
Cerilon Chairman Nico Duursema said in a statement the plant would be the “lowest carbon footprint facility of its kind in the world.“
North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad said the state has 32 natural gas processing facilities, but the project announced Thursday would be the first natural gas-to-liquids plant.
Leiman said the plant would employ “thousands” during its construction phase that would begin in 2023 and about 100 people when completed in 2026. The facility is planned near existing rail and pipelines, and product would be shipped to domestic and global markets, he said.