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Associated Press, Published May 20 2011

North Dakota regulators give go-ahead on natural gas plants

BISMARCK — North Dakota regulators hope construction of new processing plants will help cut down on natural gas waste.

Natural gas is a byproduct of oil production, and the state Department of Mineral Resources reports that about 27 percent of the state's natural gas output is being burned off.

The flaring takes place because the region doesn't have the capacity to process all of its natural gas.

This week the state Public Service Commission approved plans to build two natural gas processing plants about 16 miles northwest of Williston.

Commissioner Kevin Cramer says the Bear Paw Energy plants can handle 200 million MCF of gas each day. Bear Paw is already building another plant near Watford City.

Cramer says each day's wasted gas is enough to heat thousands of North Dakota homes.