- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

TIOGA, N.D. (AP) - Oklahoma-based Oneok Partners is increasing its natural gas processing capacity in the western North Dakota oil patch.

The Garden Creek II plant in eastern McKenzie County is now operational and capable of processing 100 million cubic feet of natural gas daily, the company said in a statement Tuesday. It cost more than $300 million to build.

About one-third of North Dakota’s natural gas is burned off and wasted in a process called flaring, because the development of pipelines and processing facilities has not kept up with the pace of oil drilling. Natural gas is a byproduct of oil production.

Oneok’s natural gas processing capacity in the region now exceeds 500 million cubic feet daily, five times more than just four years ago, President and CEO Terry Spencer said.

“Increased natural gas processing capacity also will lead to a reduction of natural gas flaring in North Dakota,” he said.

Oneok has other facilities in North Dakota and expects to have its Garden Creek III plant operating by the end of the year, at a cost of up to $360 million. The company last month announced plans for a seventh gas plant that’s expected to be complete in 2016. The Demicks Lake factory, in northeastern McKenzie County, will bring Oneok’s total investment in North Dakota to about $4 billion.

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