Because the Bakken is considered an oil field and not a gas field, I concentrated on the oil aspect of the Bakken when I began this web-log. In addition, I was more comfortable with oil, and had a more difficult time understanding natural gas and the other by-products of oil production in the Bakken. Because of that blind spot, I failed to pay much attention to the natural gas projects -- gathering and processing facilities, and pipelines -- that were generating a lot of jobs, and pouring a lot of cash into the economy.
The link below to an article in PennEnergy is a good example. I do not recall if I saw it when it was first published in September, 2010, but even if I had, I may not have paid any attention to it. Now I understand why a reader wondered if the new ONEOK processing plants were half the size of the Tioga plant. The Hess expansion project at Tioga is huge; some datapoints:
- a $500 million expansion project; I believe the three new ONEOK projects total about $500 altogether (I vaguely remember posting that; I'm sure I could be mistaken)
- the project will employ 300 to 500 personnel, and that fits with the large number of workers I saw at the ONEOK plant west of Williston
This all started with my original post on the new ONEOK natural gas gathering and processing plants west of Williston. If this is new to you, you may want to return to one of the earlier posts. These related posts are now tagged/labeled with CRYO, ONEOK, or Pipeline; tags/labels are found at the very bottom of the blog.
Again, more information regarding the natural gas picture in the Bakken. This comes to me in the way of a comment.
Knowing that some folks won't see the comments, the information is printed here as a stand-alone post.
The Hess Tioga plant expansion will include the ability to fractionate (separate) ethane from the methane and from the natural gas liquids (NGL). That plant had previously had left the ethane with the methane - leaving both as a gas. The removal of ethane is much more difficult technically and requires much higher capital than removal of propane/butane/nat gas. An ethane pipeline into Canada is also being constructed. In Alberta, the chemical industry there has the capability to convert ethane.All of these projects require a lot of new workers, and helps explain the huge man-camps in the Tioga area.
So in effect the Hess Tioga plant is not only expanding, but moving from two products (a methane/ethane gas mixture plus a NGL mixture without ethane) to three products: methane gas, ethane liquid, and a NGL mixture without ethane. By contrast, the ONEOK plants will have two product streams (methane and NGL with ethane).
"The expansion will be located about a mile from the current Tioga plant in Williams County. For an investment of $500 million, the expansion will allow the plant to process ethane from natural gas, which is used as a refrigerant and in chemical manufacturing."
Nat gas and oil pipelines in ND:
ND nat gas plant infrastructure: