State regulators in North Dakota have approved two natural gas projects: a processing plant along the North Dakota-Montana border and a pipeline in Williams and Mountrail counties.

Construction has begun on the Bill Sanderson Gas Processing Plant west of Williston in Williams County, a project of Outrigger Energy II. The facility will handle up to 250 million cubic feet per day of gas.

The project is going forward at a time when oil prices have fallen due, in part, to a lack of demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Many oil producers are idling wells and drilling fewer new wells. A PSC regulator said that it might be a good time, for a company that is financially able to do so to go ahead with a construction project.

The new gas plant is expected to cost $150 million and become operational around the end of 2020.

Great River Energy has announced that it plans to close Coal Creek Station, the largest coal-fired power plant in North Dakota, as utilities are increasingly turning to natural gas-fired power rather than coal.

Gas processing plants remove natural gas liquids such as ethane, propane and butane from raw gas extracted from oil wells. Once processed, the natural gas is used in power generation.