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The Nation

The Energy Department turned over to a private buyer the government’s only commercial synthetic fuels operation, a North Dakota coal gasification plant spawned by the energy crisis of the late 1970s. Eight companies submitted bids for the plant. Basin Electric Power Cooperative, a wholesaler of electricity to rural electric cooperatives, won with a bid valued by the department at almost $600 million, a large part of which will be paid from future gas sales. The one-of-a-kind plant near Beulah, N.D., has been a technical success, producing an average of 142 million cubic feet a day of high-BTU synthetic natural gas for four interstate pipelines.


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