An MDU Resources Group Inc. subsidiary on Thursday announced a natural gas pipeline project that would stretch across the Bakken Shale from western North Dakota to western Minnesota, where it would connect with Viking Gas Transmission Co.’s gas system.

The WBI Energy Inc. project, the largest single pipeline construction project in the company’s history, would increase takeaway capacity from the Bakken to accommodate gas production growth, CEO Steven L. Bietz said. Initially the $650-700 million pipeline would be built to transport about 400 MMcf/d, and with customer commitments, it could be upgraded to carry more than 500 MMcf/d.

“It’s exciting to think that the proposed pipeline could provide a new transportation route to bring Bakken-produced natural gas directly to industrial customers, and commercial and residential utility customers in eastern North Dakota,” said MDU CEO David L. Goodin. “Through interconnecting pipelines, the proposed pipeline could also serve Minnesota, Wisconsin and Midwest U.S. markets.”

The proposed route would stretch from about 20 miles southwest of Williston, ND, to an interconnection with Viking northeast of Moorhead, MN. Most of the system would be composed of 24-inch diameter pipeline and would include two compressor stations.

“Since 2010, we have invested over $150 million in energy development projects in North Dakota, including our acquisition of midstream assets near Belfield and the Dakota Prairie Refining diesel plant currently under construction near Dickinson,” said Bietz. “This project, combined with other recent and ongoing projects, would bring our total Bakken-related investment to nearly $1 billion.”

Long-term capacity commitments are to be gauged in an open season later this summer. With capacity commitments, necessary permits and regulatory approvals, construction could begin in early 2016, with completion late that year.

The new pipeline should help with the problem of flaring of associated gas that has plagued production of Bakken oil. About 30% of associated gas produced in the Bakken is flared.