A new gas plant near Tioga could be the start of a new industry in the Bakken region of North Dakota.
That's what the owner of the Tioga Liquefied Natural Gas Plant thinks.
We told you about the plant last night - it should begin operations in September, taking natural gas from wells across the region and turning it into an fuel that can be used instead of diesel fuel to power oil rigs.
As Jim Olson reports, the owner sees it as a major opportunity.
When Hess Corporation announced plans to increase output from its Tioga plant recently, Patrick Hughes knew he to move.
(Patrick Hughes, The Prairie Companies) "We love our relationship with Hess, they've been great to work with."
He arranged a deal for Hess to deliver processed natural gas across the road to this new liquefied natural gas plant - the plant will clean the gas and cool it into liquid for easy transportation to oil rig sites. There, the fuel will replace up to 50% of the diesel normally used to power the drilling process.
(Hunter Chumbley, Plum Energy) "It's great from a cost standpoint but it's also great from an environmental standpoint. They're not burning the gas off any more, they're capturing it and using it and then offsetting their costs by using it."
(Patrick Hughes, The Prairie Companies) "The state of North Dakota has a unique opportunity to build an industry around the byproducts of the drilling process."
That's the appeal for Hughes - the chance at being on the ground floor of a potentially huge new industry - reducing natural gas flaring and using the methane to make LNG.
(Patrick Hughes, The Prairie Companies) "You take methane that comes out of the ground, you add value to it by turning it into liquefied natural gas and you can use it as a supplement on drill rigs, for frac crews, potentially to power train engines, you can use it in ag applications, you can use it in grain drying. So there's a lot of applications from both the ag business and the oil and gas business."
He says the potential exists to locate more of these LNG plants around the region and spark a whole new part of the oil industry.
(Patrick Hughes, The Prairie Companies) "We have an opportunity to build an industry using those products, adding value to those products, and using them in the marketplace today."
As far as he's concerned - this new plant that will begin putting out liquefied natural gas in September is only the beginning.
(Patrick Hughes, The Prairie Companies) "The sky's the limit!"
Near Tioga, Jim Olson, KX News.
Officials at the Tioga LNG Plant say it's the first of its kind in the Bakken region.