Bakken Midstream announces closing of second funding round

Bakken Midstream Natural Gas, LLC, a developer of value-added natural gas infrastructure in North Dakota, announced on October 28 the closing of its second round of financing. The first round of financing closed in the spring of 2019. Both capital raises were oversubscribed and together Bakken Midstream raised nearly $25 million. 

Funding rounds were led by the Family Office of Founder and Executive Chairman, Steven E. Lebow. Previously, Lebow founded and co-led Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette’s (DLJ) Los Angeles office and created and led GRP Partners, a US and European venture capital firm. From almost day one, he was the primary financier for companies including Costco Wholesale, PetSmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Envestnet, Bill Me Later (sold to PayPal) and ULTA Beauty.

This development capital is crucial to bringing the value-added natural gas industry to North Dakota, including ethane-fueled power generation projects and related pipelines and infrastructure.

“The State of North Dakota, through the Governor’s Office, Department of Commerce and Bank of North Dakota, has supported innovation to bring added value to our state’s abundant natural gas resources,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “These projects aim to reduce flaring and reduce the heat content of natural gas for both in-state use and export. Continued investment by Bakken Midstream Natural Gas has the potential to attract additional projects that will utilize ethane, create high-paying jobs and diversify our economy.”

Investors in this second funding round include founders and leaders of respected American and North Dakota businesses as well as international entrepreneurs including:

  • Jim Sinegal, co-Founder of Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST)
  • Richard A. Galanti, longtime CFO of Costco Wholesale Corporation
  • Pierre Morin of Brussels, Belgium, who previously worked with Lebow at DLJ Los Angeles and GRP Partners where he opened and led European venture capital investing in London, England and Munich, Germany
  • Charles J. Philippin, former longtime Chairman of ULTA Beauty, Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA)
  • George P. Orban, co-Founder and Lead Director of Ross Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: ROST)
  • Herald L. Ritch, Founder of DC Advisory (owned by Daiwa Securities Group in Japan) and longtime M&A Investment Banker
  • Tom Price, Founder & CEO of Price-Simms Automotive Group, one of Northern California’s largest automotive dealership groups
  • Babu Sivadasan, co-Founder and CEO of, a breakout new artificial intelligence and machine learning company started on the Stanford University campus and is based in Palo Alto, California and India and who previously was one of the founders and the former longtime Group President of Envestnet, Inc. (NYSE: ENV)  
  • Gene Nicholas, former longtime North Dakota legislator who pioneered value-added agriculture in North Dakota
  • Steven L. Stenehjem, Chairman & CEO of First International Bank & Trust
  • Ron D. Offutt, Founder RDO Equipment Co. and R.D. Offutt Farms

“I am so pleased that our company has the support of the State and trusted business leaders, local and global. It’s a testament to the great opportunities we see in North Dakota’s future,” said Steven Lebow. “Developing power related projects to consume ethane will help mitigate flaring and enhance the value of exported natural gas for the decades of oil and gas production that lie ahead. Our Bakken Midstream team is working hard to make this exciting vision a reality.”  Lebow continues that he “is honored and proud to be working with his co-founders Shane Goettle and Curt Launer, and CEO Mike Hopkins.”

CEO Mike Hopkins has successfully developed 54 power projects around the world, totaling over twelve gigawatts. He was extensively involved in the build out of the value-add industry in Alberta, Canada. Co-Founder Curt Launer was the number one ranked natural gas industry analyst on Wall Street for twelve years and is in the Institutional Investor Magazine Hall of Fame. Following his equity research career, he has been an industry investment banker. Co-Founder Shane Goettle is a life-long North Dakota businessman and attorney with more than 25 years of state and federal level experience. He is the former head of the North Dakota Department of Commerce and former chair of EmPower North Dakota.

“As a by-product of oil production, North Dakota produces ever-growing volumes of associated gas. A significant portion of the associated gas is comprised of ethane,” explains Co-Founder Curt Launer. “Flaring of gas for disposal is the result when high volumes of gas are produced and there is insufficient infrastructure and a lack of in-state markets. Ethane has a higher heat content than pipeline quality natural gas and leaving high volumes of ethane in the natural gas stream limits export capabilities and adversely impacts the downstream consumers of North Dakota’s natural gas,” Launer continues.

“Having been born and raised in North Dakota, I’ve seen our state benefit from value-added agriculture projects, so it’s exciting to be a part of a project and a company that is creating value-added energy opportunities,” said Co-Founder Shane Goettle.

“Our work at Bakken Midstream, establishing ethane as a primary fuel source for power generation, is a win for oil producers in need of creative flaring and ethane solutions and a big win for the State of North Dakota in its ongoing effort to innovate, establish value-added industries and grow the economy,” said CEO Mike Hopkins.


About Bakken Midstream Natural Gas, LLC.:

Formed in 2018, Bakken Midstream Natural Gas, LLC is a developer of value-added natural gas infrastructure. Its mission is to develop and own infrastructure that makes North Dakota a world-class leader in the value-added natural gas industry. The company has focused its efforts in North Dakota because of the abundance of natural gas and related ethane and the potential for ethane fueled electric power generation.  

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