BISMARCK, N.D., June 18 (UPI) -- Shipping natural gas out of North Dakota could help boost the region's energy sector because of a decline in coal use, state and industry officials said.
MDU Resources Group Inc. announced in May it was backing a 400-mile pipeline to carry natural gas associated with oil production in North Dakota to domestic and regional markets.
MDU said the pipeline could carry 400,000 cubic feet per day of natural gas and expand eventually to 500,000 cubic feet per day. Construction could begin in 2016.
Denny Yeung, a analyst at Black & Veatch Managing Consulting, told energy reporting group Platts the natural gas project would help feed the electric power industry.
"With a projected in-service date by late 2016, the timing of proposed pipeline will bring additional gas supplies to serve incremental power generation demand due to coal generation retirements in the Midwest," he was quoted as saying in an interview published Monday night.
Bakken is one of the most prolific oil basins in the region. Natural gas processed from the field is associated with oil deposits.
North Dakota Pipeline Authority Director Justin Kringstad told Platts more oil production means more natural gas from the state as well.
"Having the adequate means of moving and marketing that gas long term is critical to continuing to develop this region," he said.