The North Dakota Industrial Commission plans to analyze the composition of natural gas liquids (NGL) produced in the state to weigh the feasibility of building petrochemical plants to help reduce flared and wasted natural gas from Bakken Shale production.

The North Dakota Pipeline Authority (NDPA) is commissioning the University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center to complete the study for $300,650 by May.

Processing and transmitting NGLs have long been touted as key components to reducing the statewide gas flaring that stems from record production and insufficient infrastructure. More processing plants and takeaway capacity are set to come online by the end of the year, providing much needed relief for a natural gas bottleneck in the state.

Kinder Morgan Inc.’s 150 MMcf/d Roosevelt plant expansion in McKenzie County, ND, is set to start operations next month, and Oneok Inc.’s 240,000 b/d Elk Creek NGL pipeline and 200 MMcf/d Demicks Lake II processing plant in McKenzie County are expected to begin commercial operations in 2020.

In 2020, North Dakota’s total gas processing capacity should reach 3.36 Bcf/d, a 6% increase over 2019 capacity in the state, according to the NDPA.