Thursday, April 11, 2013

North Dakota's New Refinery Projects

As oil production in North Dakota's Williston Basin continues to rise, the state recently made headlines by announcing construction plans for the first new petroleum refineries in the United States since 1977 when a Marathon Oil unit was put into service in Garyville, La

Unlike major refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, the new refineries will be comparatively small and uncomplicated units that are being built specifically to meet the increased demand for diesel and kerosene from the region's trucking and industrial sectors. Much of this is the result of the boom in crude oil production from the new wells in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota's northwest corner. The demand for these middle distillates jumped by 80% in North Dakota from 2009 to 2012, making local refineries an attractive investment. The state now uses roughly 53,000 barrels of diesel per day, more than half of which is imported from other states. 

North Dakota currently has one refinery, which is owned by Tesoro and  located in Mandan. This facility, built in 1954, has a rated capacity of 58,000 bbl/d and produces diesel fuel, jet fuel, heavy fuel oils, and liquefied petroleum gas. It processes primarily Bakken crude delivered via a 750-mile crude oil gathering  and mainline pipeline. 

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Dakota Prairie Refining
MDU Resources Group, Inc. and Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. announced on February 7 that they have formed a joint venture to develop, build and operate a diesel refinery in southwestern North Dakota that will process 20,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil. The joint venture will be called Dakota Prairie Refining, LLC. MDU Resources Group will participate in the project through its wholly owned subsidiary, WBI Energy, Inc. Construction of the new facility began on April 5 and is expected to take up to 20 months to complete. A modular design is being used, which would allow the refinery to be disassembled and moved if another location was found to be more desirable. 
The plant will be located on a 318-acre site located west of Dickinson in Stark County, N.D. and will employ approximately 100 people. The personnel will include a plant manager and management team, who will report to a governing board composed of representatives of WBI Energy and Calumet. Hiring and training of operating personnel is expected to begin later this year. 
Westcon has been selected as the general contractor, and Ventech Engineering will be the primary equipment and technology provider. MDU Resources’ construction businesses, Knife River Corporation and MDU Construction Services Group, are among potential subcontractors. Other MDU Resources’ companies involved in the project include Fidelity Exploration and Production Company, which will supply some of the facility’s crude oil; WBI Energy, which will supply natural gas service to operate the facility; and Montana-Dakota Utilities, which will supply the facility’s electricity needs.

Trenton Diesel Refinery

Dakota Oil Processing, LLC is a privately held, development stage company formed for the purpose of developing, constructing, owning and operating a crude oil topping refinery near Trenton, North DakotaThe proposed site of the $200 million Trenton Diesel Refinery is immediately east of the junction of the BNSF railroad mainline and North Dakota State highway 1804 approximately 16 miles southwest of Williston, North Dakota. The site is near a major crude‐oil transload unit-train facility developed by Savage Services which began operation in 2012. The Savage facility was recently expanded to include five additional stub-ended tracks. Two of these have been designated as transload points for products including diesel and naphtha from the Trenton Diesel Refinery.

The facility is being designed to process and refine light sweet crude into No. 1 and No. 2 Ultra‐Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) and secondary products for the local and regional markets. Secondary products include naptha, kerosene, industrial diesel, heavy fuel oil and sulphur. The facility will have a rated capacity of 20,000 barrels per day. 

The site is planned for 80 acres, with more than 90 additional acres available for future expansion and feedstock and product storage. The site is being configured for the Phase 1 terminal and first refinery battery, as well as for a potential expansion. The facility will include the primary refinery units, loading racks for unloading crude from trucks, up to 32 tanks for storing up o 667,500 barrels of liquids, water treatment and wastewater facilities, and buildings for administration, maintenance and control. 

The project was recently granted a state air quality permit, but no date has been set for the start of construction. Funding has been an issue since the refinery was first proposed in 2006. Initially, a group of investors from South Korea showed an interest but back away in 2012. The company then asked the state to back a loan, but the request was denied. 

Read more

Thunder Butte Petroleum Services

The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation proposes to build a new 20,000 barrel-per-day petroleum refinery on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation located near Makoti, North Dakota. The MHA Nation would own and operate the refinery. The proposed $450 million facility would refine Bakken formation crude oil into diesel fuel, gasoline and propane. The facility was renamed Thunder Butte Petroleum in July 2012.  The project will be funded with a mix of tribal funds and tax-exempt Tribal Economic Development Bonds through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Groundbreaking for the facility is scheduled for this spring.  Read more

EPA timeline for the Thunder Butte project...

August 2009
July 2011
The EPA prepares a Supplemental Information Report (SIR) to assess the potential changes in impact resulting from a change in feedstock, following a decision by the MHA Nation to change crude feedstocks to the local Bakken formation crude.
August 2011
EPA Issues Record of Decision and NPDES Permit for the NHA Nation Refinery. The decision to issue the permit is based on the EIS prepared by the EPA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
September 2011
November 2011
EPA reevaluates six of the NPDES permit limits as a result of appeals to the EPA Environmental Appeals Board, public notice of revised permit lmits.
June 28, 2012
EPA Environmental Appeals Board issues Order Dismissing Petitions and Denying Review.
July 20, 2012
EPA Reissues NPDES Permit to Thunder Butte Petroleum Services. The NPDES permit, issued under the Clean Water Act, details the required conditions and limitations of discharges from the facility. The permit will allow the proposed refinery to discharge treated wastewater into a tributary of the East Fork of Shell Creek.

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