September 22, 2022 By Vaseline

Deadline Extended for North Dakota Natural Gas Pipeline to Feed Fufeng Plant – Grand Forks Herald

BISMARCK, ND — The North Dakota Industrial Commission has extended its deadline for companies to submit bids for grants to help build a high-pressure transmission line for the third time.

The state of North Dakota extended the deadline to December 15, 2022 after not receiving any bids as of August 15 for the pipeline that would carry natural gas east-west to existing and planned agricultural production facilities in Grand Forks. The previous deadline was May 15, 2022.

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

The pipeline project would be funded in part with $150 million that the North Dakota Legislature made available to the Industry Commission during a special session in November 2021.

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

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

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

Between August 26, 2022 and September 19, 2022, no company submitted bids for the $150 million, Kringstad said.

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

Meanwhile, Kringstad said that besides WBI Transmission, there are other companies that are interested in the pipeline project but have not yet submitted any bids. He doesn’t expect any bids to be made before the December 15 deadline, he said

Funding, which lawmakers approved during the November 2021 special session, is available through June 30, 2023.

If no companies submit bids for the grant by the December 15, 2022 deadline, the North Dakota legislature would likely consider changing the grant proposals during the 2023 legislative session, Kringstad said.