Plans to Start a New Refinery in Wolf Point in the Works

The Wall Street Journal looks into new fracking techniques being offered up by the industry.  That story is below. But first- could we see a new oil refinery in Montana that could serve the Bakken oil fields?

The Wolf Point Herald has this:

The former Kenco Refinery east of Wolf Point, now closed 29 years, could be the site of the proposed Fort Peck Clean Energy Campus that could include a new oil refinery that would serve the Bakken Oil Field.

Ken Elliott and Steve Houston, doing business locally as Wolf Point Green LLC, purchased the former Kenco site in December 2011 with plans to build a new refinery that could accommodate 20,000 barrels daily, a wind farm and solar and geothermal energy production.

The site, located about six miles east of Wolf Point on Montana Hwy. 13, is about one half mile south of U.S. Hwy 2. There is an abandoned oil refinery, which has been reported as being in operation from 1965 to 1985. Elliott said the refinery actually opened in 1963.

Click here for the full story. 

Here’s a late addition to this post: why would the first refinery in years be built in North Dakota?  The Big Sky Business Journal’s Evelyn Pyburn writes:  

Whether its natural gas processing plants, refineries, pipelines, or rail hubs, we are seeing them locate in North Dakota like mushrooms popping up on a warm spring morning. The difference in whether they locate in North Dakota or in Montana is sometimes only a matter of a few miles – and always it seems they make the effort to get over that border into North Dakota.

During the recent energy conference when MDU Chief Executive Officer, David Goodin, was asked why they located the first refinery to be built in the US since 1976 near Dickinson, his gracious response was to say that they were “pleased” with the prompt regulatory process of North Dakota. The project was launched and it is expected to be completed within a two year span.

There was plenty of mumbled audience comment which indicated that most of the people in the room understood why the question was asked, and they understood what wasn’t said. Application for permitting in Montana wouldn’t even begin to be processed within a two year span. The company or any company could very well be still waiting for permitting, ten years from now, having spent millions on legal expenses.

For those interested in more Bakken news, check out this story in The Wall Street Journal: Technologies Can Reduce Burning of Natural Gas and Use of Fresh Water

To reduce flaring, energy companies are putting more natural gas to work. Norwegian oil company Statoil STL.OS -0.28% started piping natural gas from its wells to drilling rigs, a step that also replaces more expensive diesel fuel.

National Oilwell Varco, NOV +0.81% one of the largest rig and equipment builders, last year signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Oasys Water Inc. for a desalination system that can purify wastewater to near drinkable quality.

Halliburton Co. HAL +0.32% , for instance, provides a fracking fluid that is still effective when it contains higher concentrations of dissolved solids than typical fracking fluids—more than 300,000 parts per million compared with 50,000 ppm. The company estimates that its customers have reduced freshwater consumption by about 50 million gallons a month. “For all intents and purposes we can reuse water for fracking without doing any significant form of filtration,” says Steve Ingram, Halliburton’s manager for technology and marketing in North America.

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