$4 Billion Petrochemical Plant Planned in N.D.

By Mike Nowatzki Forum News Service
BISMARCK, N.D. — A company announced plans Monday to build a $4 billion manufacturing plant in North Dakota that will convert a byproduct of natural gas processing into an ingredient for making plastic products, representing what Gov. Jack Dalrymple called the largest private investment in state history.

Badlands NGL’s LLC and two partners are developing the facility, which will convert ethane into polyethylene, which is used to make a wide variety of plastics for consumers and industry.

The plant will produce 3.3 billion pounds of polyethylene annually and employ 500 people, company CEO Bill Gilliam said. He said the partners hope to be cranking out the finished product — little white plastic beads — by the end of 2017.
Gilliam said more than two sites are being considered in North Dakota but he wouldn’t say where, except that they aren’t in active oil drilling locations in western North Dakota. The plant is expected to cost $4 billion to $4.2 billion and will require a “substantial footprint” of more than 1,000 acres, he said.

One of the project partners, Madrid, Spain-based Tecnicas Reunidas, a major contractor for petrochemical plants, is doing a preliminary engineering analysis that is scheduled for completion this year and will include a final site selection for the facility.

Badlands NGL’s is a Delaware corporation in the process of moving to new headquarters in Denver, Gilliam said. Vinmar Projects of Houston, Texas, is the project’s other partner.

Dalrymple said the project is “fully aligned” with the state’s goals to reduce flaring, add value to energy resources and create diverse job opportunities.

“I think it is a very exciting announcement and one that will surely go down in history,” he said, calling it “a record investment in our energy industry.”

The proposed facility isn’t the only multibillion-dollar project planned in North Dakota that would make use of the state’s abundant natural gas resource. Minnesota-based CHS announced last month that it was moving forward with construction of a $3 billion fertilizer plant at Spiritwood that will convert natural gas into nitrogen fertilizer.