Meridian Energy Group plan refinery for North Dakota

Meridian Energy Group Inc., Irvine, Calif., has let a contract to Vepica CA, Caracas, and BASIC Equipment, Houston, to provide preliminary studies for its proposed 55,000-b/sd Davis refinery to be built on 620 acres near Belfield, ND, in the heart of southwestern North Dakota’s Bakken shale region.

As part of the contract, Vepica and BASIC Equipment will perform a series of engineering studies to define the design basis, costs, and schedule for the planned high-conversion refinery, which would serve Bakken crude oil producers and local liquid fuels and chemicals markets, the service companies said.

Upon completion of the studies, the two service providers additionally will work with Meridian to complete permitting and approval requirements as well as finalize full-project financing for the refinery, including support services during the project’s detailed design, procurement, construction, and startup phases.

A value of the contract was not disclosed.

While Vepica and BASIC Equipment did not reveal a specific timeframe for execution of preliminary studies for the grassroots refinery, the companies said Meridian recently has undertaken a series of scoping and optimization studies based on crude assays provided by its likely tolling partners and expects to begin detailed design and engineering on the project during early first-quarter 2016.

Project permit applications also are due to be filed with government officials in early 2016, according to Vepica and BASIC Equipment.

Meridian, which expects to receive expedited permitting for the proposed plant, currently is finalizing plans to break ground on the project during first-half 2016, the company said.

Pending permit and regulatory approvals, the refinery would enter operation sometime in 2018, according to Meridian.

If approved, the Davis refinery would become North Dakota’s third, as well as only the second greenfield construction in the US since 1976 (OGJ Online, May 4, 2015).

With proximity to nearby crude feedstock and ample supplies of low-cost natural gas supplies to fuel processing activities, the Davis plant also would have direct access to major transportation infrastructure, including two main highways, oil and gas pipelines, and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line, which runs directly through the refinery site, according to Meridian.

As part of the proposed construction plan, Meridian said it also intends to build a crude oil feedstock offloading and refined fuels uploading terminal to take advantage of BNSF rail line access.

A first phase of the refinery’s construction would feature at least a 20,000-b/sd processing plant as well as associated terminal installations, according to the company’s web site.

Meridian’s move to advance the Davis refinery follows a July announcement from Quantum Energy Inc., Tempe, Ariz., and joint-venture partner Native Son Holdings LLC, The Woodlands, Tex., that the pair will build a new 40,000-b/d refinery in Berthold, ND (OGJ Online, July 21, 2015).

While the partnership already has filed a minor-source air quality construction permit application for the proposed Berthold plant with the North Dakota Health Department’s division of air quality (OGJ Online, July 30, 2015), a specific timeline construction of the planned $645 million refinery has yet to be released.

Contact Robert Brelsford at

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