- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Government and economic development leaders from West Virginia and Ohio are visiting northwestern North Dakota to see firsthand what it’s like to deal with an energy boom.

The residents from Parkersburg and Vienna, West Virginia, and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio, hope to apply lessons from Minot and Williston to what the mid-Ohio Valley will experience if and when an anticipated ethane cracker plant is built there. Such plants convert ethane from shale oil and natural gas into chemicals used to produce plastics, fertilizer and other products.

The 13 officials arrived in Minot on Sunday night and were touring and visiting with officials through Tuesday, the Minot Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/1uXRkgo ).

In Williston, the population has doubled since 2010 and the city’s physical size has tripled. In Minot, on the eastern edge of the patch, the population grew 12 percent between 2000 and 2010, most of it in the latter part of the decade.

“Make sure you look far ahead enough,” Minot City Engineer Lance Meyer told the visitors while discussing long-range infrastructure planning. Minot has identified nearly $815 million in needed water, sewer, transportation, airport, landfill, buildings and flood control projects through 2019, he said.

Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said his region already is seeing growth due to fracking in the oil and gas fields just to the east of his community. That growth will increase significantly if the $4 billion petrochemical complex is built. The project is expected to create thousands of jobs during construction and hundreds when operating, as well as generate jobs in related and supporting businesses.

“They are already building more hotels now than they have in a century in and around our city,” Newell said. “We are experiencing some growth already. We want to get ready for the bigger growth.”


Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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