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One of North Dakota’s largest economic expansion projects to date is landing in Williams County, according to an announcement by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Canada-based Cerilon GTL is building a gas to liquids plant in Trenton, according to a press release from Gov. Doug Burgum. The $2.8 billion plant will start with an initial 24,000 barrels per day of ultra-low sulfur diesel and other specialty products.

A Web page for the Cerilon group of industries mentions a 24,000 barrel per day facility, which it says will also be producing military-grade jet fuel, naphtha, and Group III base oils from natural gas.

“Our paramount goal is to deliver sustainable, long-term value to our stakeholders, community, and the environment. The state-of-the-art GTL facility will be the lowest carbon footprint facility of its kind in the world,“ said Nico Duursema, Cerilon Inc. Chairman.

Construction on the facility is expected to begin in early 2023. Its location in Trenton will allow rail and pipeline access, and also has carbon sequestration opportunities. Carbon GTL anticipates that there will be future construction phases and more facilities as part of its overall vision for the complex.

Commerce Commissioner James Leiman said the facility is yet another development that will make North Dakota a leader in net carbon neutrality.

“The Cerilon GTL complex has the potential to be one of the largest economic expansion projects in the history of North Dakota,” he said. “GTL facilities support the oil industry while reducing environmental impacts. The Williams County facility will be one of many expansions that make North Dakota a leader in carbon neutrality.”

North Dakota is contributing $3 million in initial development capital for the Cerilon GTL development from its Development Fund Board. Future financial support for the project is anticipated.

Burgum said the GTL project supports state leadership’s strategy to diversify its energy industry while supporting clean, sustainable energy development.

“The global investment community and markets are demanding low carbon energy,” Burgum said. “North Dakota is well-positioned to be a global leader and coveted location for businesses who are looking to expand and respond to the many factors that are currently shaping the future of energy.”

Burgum announced a challenge for North Dakota to reach net carbon neutrality by 2030 in May of this year during the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. That challenge not only raised eyebrows around the state in the energy sector, but sparked global attention and what the governor described as a “cascade” of $25 billion in investment opportunities centering around the state’s unique geology, which is ideal for carbon sequestration.

North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center has been studying carbon sequestration for more than a decade, including studies on whether the carbon stays where it is put.

Not long after Burgum issued his challenge, the state announced a partnership with Bakken Energy and Mitsubishi Power Americas for what would be one of North America’s largest blue hydrogen hubs in Beulah at the Synfuels Plant.

That project is expected to be operational in about five years.

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