The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said WBI Energy Transmission Inc. could begin construction on an expansion of the company's natural gas transportation system in Minnesota and North Dakota that will serve an affiliated utility and an ethanol plant.
The March 23 construction authorization had limits. It excluded construction at a point where a pipeline crosses a Minnesota waterway. The developer and staff at the FERC Office of Energy Projects are still deciding on a drilling method for the crossing. WBI Energy had a targeted construction date of April 2018 in order to meet an in-service date of Nov. 1.
FERC authorized the estimated $57.3 million Valley Expansion project on Feb. 15. The expansion will move about 40 MMcf/d of additional gas supplies for MDU Resources Group Inc.'s Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. and for Tharaldson Ethanol Plant I LLC, which operates an ethanol plant near Casselton, N.D. The two customers entered into 10-year binding precedent agreements for firm gas transportation service.
The project will consist of a 3,000-horsepower electric-driven compressor station in Cass County, N.D., and a new bidirectional 37-mile, 16-inch-diameter pipeline running between an interconnection with Viking Gas Transmission Co. and the compressor station. WBI Energy, part of MDU Resources, will increase the maximum allowable operating pressure on a portion of its system. (FERC docket CP17-257)