Natural gas conversion plant to be constructed in North Dakota

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A Canadian energy firm has announced plans to build a US$2.8 billion natural gas conversion plant in western North Dakota, with the state investing millions of dollars. Cerilon Inc.‘s development would be the first of its type in North Dakota, and state officials announced Thursday a US$3 million initial investment through the Department of Commerce, with further state financing anticipated in the future. Governor Doug Burgum hailed the news and highlighted the project as a step toward his lofty goal of making North Dakota carbon neutral by 2030, which he announced earlier this year.

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According to Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, the Cerilon facility will provide an in-state solution for part of that surplus natural gas as the byproduct’s output continues to rise in the coming years. The state of North Dakota presently has 32 conventional natural gas processing plants, however, it lacks any facilities for converting the gas to petroleum. According to a statement made by the company, once finished, the first phase of the Cerilon complex would convert natural gas into 24,000 barrels per day of diesel fuel and other specialized goods.

Cerilon aims to expand its GTL factory once the initial phase is completed, and construction of the facility is anticipated to begin in 2023. The facility’s construction will employ thousands of people in western North Dakota and provide around 100 long-term employment at the plant. As the Bakken formation’s oil wells mature, they will generate increasing amounts of natural gas, which might eventually place a ceiling on North Dakota’s oil production due to regulatory flaring restrictions. GTL, or gas-to-liquids, is a refining process that converts natural gas into fuel products such as gasoline and diesel.