BISMARCK, N.D. — Regulators have approved a $1.8 million natural gas pipeline project in northwestern North Dakota.

ONEOK Rockies Midstream plans to convert an existing natural gas gathering pipeline and a portion of another gathering pipeline into a natural gas liquids transmission line.

The state Public Service Commission approved the Cherry Creek Pipeline project Monday, saying it will provide a safer transportation option and help reduce the wasteful flaring of excess natural gas in the oil patch, The Bismarck Tribune reported .

"It is far preferable to transport this product by pipeline versus rail or by truck," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "This is pretty volatile stuff, it's the hot ends of the product."

The project will move up to 50,000 barrels of natural gas liquids from a gas processing plant in McKenzie County to a plant in Williams County, where it will go into the Bakken Pipeline.

Converting the existing pipeline will involve little construction, said Fedorchak.

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said the project is an important part of infrastructure that will help companies reduce natural gas flaring.

The Cherry Creek Pipeline crosses the Missouri River and has shut-off valves on both sides of the crossing. Commissioners reviewed safety and environmental aspects of the pipeline, which wasn't required to go through the Public Service Commission when it was constructed as a gathering line.

The pipeline is expected to be in use by the end of 2019.