Record natural gas production in the Bakken has meant continued utility and pipeline growth for North Dakota-based MDU Resources Group Inc., driving earnings growth upward in 3Q2019, according to CEO David Goodin.

MDU's pipeline business reported its 11th consecutive quarter of record transportation volumes last quarter, Goodin said during a conference call with analysts Wednesday. With the Bakken flush with gas, "we continue to grow organically to handle the increased production volumes."

MDU's WBI Energy Transmission Inc. brought into service the 14-mile, 24-inch diameter Demicks Lake pipeline in northwest North Dakota during the quarter, and continued construction of the Line Section 22 project near Billings, MT. "Together these two projects provide approximately 200 MMcf/d of new gas transportation capacity," Goodin said.

The Demicks Lake expansion project will add another 170 MMcf/d of capacity when it is brought into service early next year, said Goodin, who on another conference call earlier this year noted MDU expects to add 500 MMcf/d of gas pipeline capacity in the Bakken over the next three years.

Goodin said the pipeline unit's North Bakken expansion project has increased its designed capacity twice to meet record gas production in the Bakken. "This project, which had an original design capacity of 200 MMcf/d, has now increased to 350 MMcf/d," he said.

Bismarck-based MDU utility received state regulatory approval for an 88 MW gas-fired simple-cycle generation unit that is scheduled to be in service in 2023 at a cost of $73 million.

"We're continuing to complete infrastructure projects across various industries and geographic markets," Goodin said.

MDU Resources reported 3Q2019 net income of $137.6 million (69 cents/share), compared to $107.3 million (55 cents) for the same period in 2018.