Amidst conflicting concerns about air quality and economic growth, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) last month approved a natural gas processing plant in Douglas, WY, in Converse County where natural gas production is robust in a part of the Niobrara Shale.

DEQ’s air quality division issued the permit, noting that the joint venture facility of Oklahoma City-based Access Midstream Partners and Houston-based Crestwood Midstream Partners meets the regulatory and technical requirements for a 120 MMcf/d gas processing plant.

The processing plant will add to the Access-Crestwood 111-mile Jackalope gas gathering system in the Powder River Basin. Access provides field operations and construction management for Jackalope while Crestwood is responsible for commercial development for the joint venture.

The new Douglas facilities will strip out liquids, allowing the natural gas to be shipped to market via pipelines and the liquid products, such as propane and butane, to be transported via trucks. It is estimated the plant will produce 16,275 b/d of liquids, or roughly 76 daily truck shipments.

With the added local processing capacity, the region should eliminate the need to flare wellhead gas supplies because of a local shortage of takeaway facilities. Access officials have stressed the plant’s role in resolving this issue in a county where gas production increased 41% last year, according to state officials.

Local opposition to the proposed facility has been vocal as evidenced by a public meeting last fall in which residents expressed fears that emissions of formaldehyde would harm residents and livestock in the area. One citizen group recommended the plant deploy electric compressors to eliminate the potential emissions.

In giving it approval, the DEQ air division concluded that the proposed plant’s emissions reduction plans were adequate, including its plans for limiting ozone, which is a continuing concern of local environmental groups.

DEQ officials told local news media that the plant’s permit meets more stringent standards than those imposed by the federal government. It calls for limiting the types of emissions that could add to ozone levels, they said.

The state officials do not think Converse County is near the point of exceeding federal ozone standards.