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North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple. Image courtesy of Prairie Public Broadcasting/Youtube.

Denver-based Badlands NGL is planning a $4 billion factory in North Dakota that will convert natural gas liquids into an ingredient for plastic products.

Governor Jack Dalrymple said the project will be the largest private investment in North Dakota’s history.

The factory will turn ethane gas produced during natural gas processing into polyethylene, a key ingredient used to make a range of plastic products including bottles and pipelines.

Badlands expects the plant to be online by the end of 2017 and to produce 3.3 billion pounds of polyethylene per year.

Badlands is currently considering two sites for the plant but did not disclose where those sites are.

However, the company did say the plant will not be located in active drilling sites in western North Dakota, the AP said.

The company expects to pick a 1,000 acre site within a year.

Spain-based contractor Tecnicas Reunidas will prepare an engineering study for the plant.

Houston-based Vinmar Projects signed a 15 year purchase agreement to acquire all of the polyethylene produced at the plant.

North Dakota produces about 200,000 barrels of ethane per day but most of it is currently sold as pipeline gas, Inforum said.

Badlands is currently looking for partners for the project as well as financing.

The company is not currently planning to seek government grants or loans for the project.