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Northern Plains Nitrogen Plans $1.5 Billion Fertilizer Plant in Grand Forks, North Dakota

Northern Plains Nitrogen will build a $1.5 billion fertilizer plant in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation officials said will employ approximately 135 full time employees in operations, maintenance, engineering, administration, and marketing.

The world-scale production facility will include a 2,200 ton per day ammonia plant, plus urea and Urea-Ammonium-Nitrate production. Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and be completed in 2017. Approximately 2,000 people will be employed during the construction phase.

The company said it evaluated locations throughout the Midwest. “I drool over that site. It’s as good as it gets,” said Larry Mackie, NPN’s chief operating officer. “This site is absolute perfection.”

Company officials said the plant will meet or exceed state and federal environmental regulations and will be designed and constructed according to the latest engineering standards and be among the most efficient, safe, and environmentally compliant in the world.

The site is deemed particularly attractive because NPN required at least 300 acres, close to feedstock. The site is close to natural gas pipelines and the company intends to use feedstock from the Bakken oil fields as well. Mackie said in addition NPN will use greywater, wastewater and collect stormwater. “We will make good use of a very valuable resource.” The site is also within a stone’s throw of a rail line and land has been secured to bring the line directly into the site. Major highway corridors link the site in all directions for truck transportation.

“The EDC is committed to our core objectives of business retention, expansion, creation and attraction. The NPN project just announced is an example of strategic growth based on our region's strengths,” said Klaus Thiessen, EDC president and CEO. “We look forward to working with NPN over the coming months to help move this project forward and continue enhancing our agri-business sector.”

Gov. Jack Dalrymple said, “This is an exciting opportunity for Grand Forks, the state of North Dakota, and the Northern Plains. This plant will utilize the increasing supplies of natural gas across the region and will provide a reliable regional supply of fertilizer while reducing producers’ dependence on imported products. This is a win, win for North Dakota.”

“You are making a wise investment and a great location choice,” said Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown. ”Today’s announcement is proof positive of the effectiveness of the Grand Forks business growth team. We are unmatched when it comes to providing a soft landing spot for new and expanding business.”

Last year, the EDC commissioned an agri-business study that identified a fertilizer production facility among three investment grade opportunities for the Grand Forks region. “The Grand Forks region has a full inventory of resources required for the development and operation of a world-class ammonia production facility that produces a full complement of nitrogen-based fertilizers,” the study reports. Access to adequate water supplies and competitively priced natural gas are two primary assets of the region, as well as land, rail, highway, electricity, and labor availability.

“The study reinforced the Grand Forks area is able to address preliminary facility requirements in order to justify more detailed site selection and engineering studies,” Thiessen said. “We are looking forward to working with NPN as they proceed with their site studies and development work.”

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