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Bakken Midstream announces project advancements in ND

BISMARCK – Bakken Midstream Natural Gas, LLC, a developer of value-added natural gas infrastructure in North Dakota, announced Tuesday it has signed an informal agreement for its first ethane supply to support a large-scale, baseload power plant.

The Williston Basin Energy Center will be the largest power plant to utilize advances in combustion turbine technology that use ethane as the primary fuel source. The Energy Center will be located in the Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative territory near Williston, subject to final operational and power purchase agreements.

In October 2020, Bakken Midstream announced it had secured nearly $25 million from two separate capital raises for the purpose of bringing the value-added natural gas industry to North Dakota, including ethane-fueled power generation projects and related pipelines and infrastructure. Funding efforts were led by Executive Chairman Steven Lebow, along with North Dakota business leaders, including Gene Nicholas, Ron Offutt and Stephen Stenehjem.

“For more than three years, we have been working to address the challenges ethane poses to North Dakota’s oil and gas sectors and find innovative ways to address those challenges and meet the state’s new power generation needs. We set an extremely high bar for ourselves with the mandate to reimagine what is possible and reengineer what exists to mitigate natural gas flaring, enable additional oil production and productively utilize ethane through ethane-fueled power generation projects,” said founder Lebow. “With this Energy Center we have realized the first step of our broader value-added vision.”

“Utilizing our state’s abundant natural gas resources for ethane-fueled power generation right here in North Dakota is truly a game-changing development that will support long-term construction projects, create high paying jobs and diversify our economy,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “We appreciate the innovative solutions and considerable talent that Bakken Midstream has brought to bear on the ethane opportunities and flaring challenges we face in the Bakken – yet another example of what we can achieve when we focus on innovation over regulation.”

Development plans for Bakken Midstream are led by CEO Mike Hopkins, along with Lebow, and co-founders Curt Launer and Shane Goettle.

Hopkins has successfully developed 54 power projects around the world, totaling over 12 gigawatts. He was extensively involved in the build out of the value-add industry in Alberta, Canada.

Launer was the number one ranked natural gas industry analyst on Wall Street for 12 years and is in the Institutional Investor Magazine Hall of Fame.

Goettle is a life-long North Dakota businessman and attorney with more than 25 years of state and federal level experience. He is the former head of the North Dakota Department of Commerce and former chair of EmPower North Dakota.

“Despite lower oil production over the past year, associated gas will continue to be an issue for producers unless a value-added industry is developed right here in the state. Ethane has a higher heat content than pipeline quality natural gas and leaving high volumes of ethane in the natural gas stream limits export capabilities and adversely impacts the downstream consumers of North Dakota’s natural gas,” Hopkins said.

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