Construction began this week on the North Bakken Expansion project in northwestern North Dakota, which the CEO of MDU Resources Group Inc. said will help producers reduce flaring in the region.

The natural gas pipeline expansion will have capacity to transport 250 MMcf/d of natural gas from the Bakken Formation. WBI Energy Inc., a subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc., received a notice to proceed on July 8 from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, allowing construction to commence, according to a release from MDU Resources on July 19.

“WBI Energy transports more than 50% of the natural gas produced from the Bakken,” commented David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources, in the release. “This project will bring WBI’s total pipeline system capacity to more than 2.4 billion cubic feet per day while reducing natural gas flaring in the region by allowing producers to move more gas to market.”

The North Bakken Expansion project includes construction of approximately 63 miles of 24-inch natural gas pipeline and 30 miles of 12-inch natural gas pipeline, as well as a new compressor station and additional associated infrastructure. It is estimated to cost $260 million and, during peak construction, is expected to employ up to 450 people.

“Producers have reinforced their need for this additional capacity by committing to long-term transportation contracts with WBI,” Goodin added in his statement. “We appreciate the support from state and federal officials who helped elevate the significance of this project for both its environmental and economic benefits.”

WBI Energy expects to have the pipeline in service by the end of the year.