Private midstreamer Outrigger Energy II LLC has agreed to provide long-term natural gas gathering and processing services to a subsidiary of supermajor ExxonMobil Corp. to assist in developing Williston Basin assets in North Dakota.

In the agreement, Outrigger would construct, own and operate the 70-mile, 20- and 24-inch diameter rich gas pipeline from eastern Williams County to a new 250 MMcf/d cryogenic gas processing plant west of Williston. Plans are also underway for an expansion to add another  200 MMcf/d, for total gas processing capacity of 450 MMcf/d.

The plant is to offer ethane recovery and rejection capabilities that would provide access to the Northern Border Pipeline system for residue gas and the Oneok natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline system. Future NGL fractionation facilities may be added to provide finished products for local markets, according to Outrigger.

“Routing of the gathering line will provide other Williston Basin operators access to much-needed gathering and cryogenic processing capacity,” said Outrigger CEO Dave Keanini. “Moreover, this additional midstream capacity for gas production north of the Missouri River allows the state of North Dakota to make strides toward its goal of minimizing gas flaring in the Basin.”

Infrastructure constraints in the basin have crippled takeaway, even as production has continued to grow. Bakken natural gas production in North Dakota topped 3 Bcf/d in October, according to the state’s Department of Mineral Resources. The output bested September output by 4%, hitting 95.1 Bcf (3.07 Bcf/d).

Flaring has also reached new heights, with North Dakota accounting for 31% of total domestic vented/flared gas in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. About 4 Bcf/d was flared in the state in 2018 or 17% of total gross withdrawals, the highest percentage share of any state.

Backed by equity commitments from NGP Energy Capital Management and an entity affiliated with Western Gas Resources Inc. founder Brion G. Wise, Outrigger specializes in greenfield project development with a current focus on liquids-rich natural gas and crude oil infrastructure in the Denver-Julesburg Basin of Colorado and Wyoming and the Williston Basin. It also has assets in the Permian Basin, the Rockies and Midcontinent.