The CEO of Meridian Energy said a proposed oil refinery to be built near the Bakken will be – as he put it – the “cleanest refinery on this planet.”
The Davis refinery is proposed for a site near Belfield.
"We have taken every bit of technology that's been invented over the last 50 years," said Meridian CEO William Prentice. "As a result, the emissions per 1000 barrels per day will be a fraction of the industry average."
Prentice said work on the Davis Refinery will begin soon after an air quality permit is issued.
"We're hoping that will happen in the next two months or so," Prentice said in an interview. "In two or three months, we can go into the ground. Once that happens, we should be in operation during late 2018."
The Davis Refinery will be only the second so-called “Greenfield” refinery permitted since 1976. Prentice said the plan is to build it in two phases – the first phase will be 27,500 barrels per day, and a second phase would essentially double the size – to 55,000 barrels per day. But Prentice said there is no guarantee the second phase would be built.
"If the capital markets and the appetite of the permitting agencies are such that it's not the right time to do it, we won't don it," Prentice said.
But Prentice said the refinery will be profitable.
"There are parts of the world I've worked in where people would put this (Bakken crude) right into their trucks," Prentice said. "It's beautiful crude oil."
North Dakota currently has two other refineries – the 74,000 barrel per day Mandan refinery ,and the 20,000 barrel per day Dakota Prairie Refinery in Dickinson. Both are owned by Tesoro.