Black Hills Corp.'s Wyoming natural gas distribution utility is seeking regulatory approvals to build a 35-mile, 12-inch diameter natural gas pipeline to enhance reliability for about 57,000 customers in the Casper area.

The Rapid City, SD-based company’s Black Hills Gas Distribution LLC has filed for a certificate to build the Natural Bridge Pipeline, a $54 million project, that would run from an interconnection point near Douglas, WY, to existing facilities near Casper in the central part of the state.

Black Hills COO Linn Evans said the added pipeline would connect with new long-term sources of cost-effective supplies. "The pipeline will also provide additional capacity to ensure that Black Hills can cost-effectively meet long-term peak day demand in the Casper and Riverton areas.”

If all goes to plan, the new line could be in service by late next year. The pipeline would connect with additional sources of supply and provide added capacity to ensure reliability on the northern end of a 750-mile transmission pipeline system.

The project would be additive to Black Hills’ five-year capital spending plan introduced in conjunction with 1Q2018 earnings.

"Although the company does not expect to issue equity to meet its projected capital spending, it will continue to review its spending plans, forecasted credit metrics, and financing needs," a spokesperson said.

Black Hills operates gas and electric utilities serving 1.2 million customers in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.