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Bobcat eyeing natural gas service for Gwinner facility

Forum file photo of Bobcat plant in Gwinner, N.D.

BISMARCK — A project connecting Bobcat's manufacturing facility in Gwinner, N.D., to natural gas service took a step forward Friday, June 16.

The Public Service Commission approved a certificate of "public convenience and necessity" along with a Montana-Dakota Utilities' transportation service agreement with Bobcat. MDU will provide natural gas through a 12-inch, 21-mile pipeline that will tap into the Alliance Pipeline northeast of Milnor, according to a PSC press release.

MDU has asked whether the $13.8 million project falls under the commission's siting jurisdiction, which would require a permit for the pipeline's location. The natural gas system in Ransom and Sargent counties would initially provide service to the Bobcat facility, but could expand to other customers along the route.

"This is a really significant milestone for southeast North Dakota," said Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, who said the project has been a high priority for state economic development officials. "They aren't as competitive as other facilities that that company owns globally because of the lack of natural gas."

Bobcat manufactures equipment like skid-steer loaders and utility vehicles. The Gwinner facility is Bobcat's largest facility in the U.S., according to the PSC.

Bobcat spokeswoman Laura Ness Owens said "cost-effective and dependable fuel sources are critical factors in our ability to operate successfully as a manufacturer, and remain competitive in the compact equipment industry."

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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