BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A natural gas company is seeking commitments to expand a pipeline that runs through North Dakota.
Alliance Pipeline's announcement this week comes as the state's oil and gas regulators are encouraging new infrastructure investment to handle growing volumes of natural gas production, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
"Strong customer demand is the driver for this initiative," said Dan Sutherland, Alliance vice president for commercial operations, in a statement.
Alliance Pipeline is seeking commitments from industry to increase the amount by 25 percent.
The company receives natural gas from British Columbia, Alberta and North Dakota. It enters North Dakota in Renville County and travels southeast to Richland County.
Alliance spokesman Alan Roth says the expansion would require three additional compressor stations in North Dakota located near Maxbass, Munster and Lisbon, if approved. The company proposes putting the expanded pipeline into service by the end of 2021.
Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, said additional transmission pipeline capacity will help to reduce natural gas flaring, along with developing more gathering pipelines and processing plants.
"Looking ahead, I do expect a need for additional transmission capacity out of the region," Kringstad said.
The state's natural gas production has continued to climb despite oil production dropping. Production increased about 35 percent in 2017.
Bruce Hicks, assistant director of the Oil and Gas Division, told the North Dakota Industrial Commission this week that the growth is partially due to industry's focus on drilling in the core of the Bakken, where wells tend to produce more gas. He said Bakken oil and gas wells tend to produce a higher ratio of natural gas as they mature.