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Deadline extended for North Dakota natural gas pipeline to service Fufeng plant

The state of North Dakota extended the deadline to Dec. 15, 2022, after it received no bids by the Aug. 15 deadline for the pipeline that would carry natural gas from east to west to existing and proposed agricultural manufacturing plants in Grand Forks.

Pipes
The deadline to submit bids for grants to assist with the construction of high-pressure transmission line to transport natural gas for use in eastern North Dakota has been extended until Dec. 15, 2022.
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BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Industrial Commission for the third time has extended its deadline for companies to submit bids for grants to assist with construction of a high-pressure transmission pipeline.

The state of North Dakota extended the deadline to Dec. 15, 2022, after it received no bids by the Aug. 15 deadline for the pipeline that would carry natural gas from east to west to existing and proposed agricultural manufacturing plants in Grand Forks. The previous deadline was May 15, 2022.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted at its Aug. 26 meeting to extend the deadline to Dec. 15, said Justin Kringstad, North Dakota Pipeline Authority director.

The pipeline project would be funded, in part, by $150 million which North Dakota legislators made available to the industrial commission during a special session in November 2021.

The amount includes $10 million that was designated to transport natural gas to Grand Forks County, where Fufeng Group Ltd. has proposed to build a wet corn milling plant and Northern Plains Nitrogen, a fertilizer plant, are potential customers.

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South Dakota U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, one of 51 U.S. representatives who signed the Sept. 26 letter, told Agweek in a prepared statement, “China is not our friend, and if a purchase such as the one near the Grand Forks Air Force Base is a strategic move by the Chinese Communist Party to intercept sensitive U.S. military communications, this would cause serious problems."

Both of those projects are in the development phase. The city of Grand Forks has halted construction on the Fufeng Group Ltd. project while the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States reviews it to determine whether it is a national security threat. Meanwhile, Northern Plains Nitrogen was proposed in 2013, and in September 2022, the website said that the facility is “shovel ready.”

There also are several other companies, both large and small, that have proposed new projects and also existing companies in Grand Forks County that are interested in tapping into the pipeline, Kringstad said. He declined to name the companies.

No companies had submitted bids for the $150 million between Aug. 26, 2022, and Sept. 19, 2022, Kringstad said.

In April, WBI Energy Transmission wrote in a letter to North Dakota leaders that construction of the west-to-east pipeline was too costly because of the high project cost estimates, increased regulator uncertainty and limited in-state demand potential, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Kringstad said there are other companies besides WBI Transmission interested in the pipeline project, but they have not yet submitted bids. He doesn't expect bid submissions to be made until nearer the Dec. 15 deadline, he said

The funding that lawmakers approved during the November 2021 special session is available until June 30, 2023.

If no companies submit bids for the grant by the Dec. 15, 2022 deadline, the North Dakota Legislature likely would consider whether to modify the grant proposals during the 2023 Legislative session, Kringstad said.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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