TIOGA - The natural gas plant near here is undergoing a major expansion.
The nearby office complex, a sprawling and modern facility, has not yet been outgrown, but the time to expand may not be very far into the future. In the meantime, Hess Corporation continues to play a major role in energy development in North Dakota.
Formerly Amarada Hess, the global company adopted "Hess Corporation" in 2007. The name is synonymous with oil development in North Dakota. It was Hess who first discovered oil in this state in 1951 at a well not far from this now bustling community.
The Hess headquarters in Tioga is one of the largest office complexes in North Dakota. The facility has been utilizing add-on office space to help meet their needs and further expansion is possible.
Hess maintains significant operations in Williston, Keene, Fryburg and Newburg. According to Hess, they have made significant investments to develop the Bakken Formation shale and is the largest gas producer and third-largest oil producer in North Dakota.
Hess operates the Tioga gas plant, a facility that is currently being expanded. Several large cranes are being employed at the construction project, looming over the skyline immediately to the east of Tioga. The capacity of the plant will more than double when construction is completed.
According to Emma Meade, Hess Corporation Communications in Houston, Texas, the current capacity of the Tioga plant is 115 million standard cubic feet per day. That equates to 260,000 gallons daily. Of that amount, 50 percent is propane, 25 percent butane and 25 percent natural gasoline. When the expansion goes on-line the processing capacity will increase to 250 million standard cubic feet per day.
The expansion is not scheduled for completion until sometime in 2013. When finished, the amount of liquids processed will increase from 260,000 gallons daily to 2.5 million gallons per day. Meade said the breakdown will be 50 percent ethane, 30 percent propane, 15 percent butane and five percent natural gasoline.
Other news regarding Hess came out Bismarck earlier this week when regulators approved the North Dakota section of a 430-mile pipeline leading from Hess' Tioga natural gas processing plant to Empress, Alberta. Nova Chemicals Corporation of Calgary, Alberta, will use the pipeline to supply ethane for Alberta's petrochemical industry. Ethane is derived from natural gas. One of its uses is in the manufacturing of plastics.
The pipeline will be capable of carrying between 40,000 and 60,000 barrels of ethane per day. The North Dakota section of the pipeline will be 80 miles in length.
Hess is a major employer in North Dakota. The Tioga-based workforce includes approximately 280 employees and 130 contractors. The total does not include the contractors working on the expansion of the gas plant.