Firm pipeline capacity instrumental during energy emergency

The energy emergency across the midsection of the United States Feb. 14-20 will be discussed and investigated for months, and likely years to come. And with that, all the components that work together to deliver energy to each members’ homes, businesses, and ranches will be reviewed.

Dakota Gasification Company’s Great Plains Synfuels Plant in Beulah, North Dakota, fits uniquely in the picture as it produces natural gas as well as having firm capacity on the Northern Border Pipeline, a pipeline used to transport natural gas to the market. It also feeds many of Basin Electric’s North Dakota and South Dakota natural gas electrical generation facilities and was instrumental during the February event – keeping those facilities producing electricity during a critical time.

See how Basin Electric was able to purchase gas from Dakota Gas to "keep it within the family" rather than pay a third party:

In February, the Synfuels Plant was producing natural gas that was desperately needed. Cold weather shut in many gas producers, but not the Synfuels Plant. Daniel Schaff Gallagher, Basin Electric manager of commodity sales and trading, says because the Synfuels Plant produces gas and has firm capacity of nearly 80,000 dekatherms on the Northern Border Pipeline, it made procuring the gas to transport to the cooperative’s gas-fueled units more efficient. “More efficient because we are producing, transporting, and consuming natural gas, so as traders we are able to manage that situation more cost-effectively than if we were only buying a lot of natural gas,” Gallagher says. “We can serve some of our own generation using our own production, so looking at it from a physical standpoint, the portfolio provides more options to manage the position effectively and efficiently.”

Gallagher says for natural gas purchases, there were other ways to capture value, as well.

Read more about Dakota Gas' role in the February cold weather event in the spring 2021 issue of Basin Today.

Great Plains Synfuels Plant
Great Plains Synfuels Plant