By Robert Brelsford
OGJ Downstream Technology Editor
The North Dakota Department of Health’s (NDDH) division of air quality has issued a draft permit-to-construct (PTC) for Meridian Energy Group Inc.’s two-phased grassroots 49,500-b/sd high-conversion Davis refinery to be built in Billings County in the heart of southwestern North Dakota’s Bakken shale region (OGJ Online, Aug. 10, 2016). The Dec. 5 issuance of the draft PTC stipulates a 45-day period for public comment from Dec. 8-Jan. 26, during and after which NDDH will review and address all relevant public input before moving forward with issuing a final PTC for the project, Meridian and NNDH said.
NNDH will hold a public meeting on Jan. 17 in Dickinson, ND, to facilitate participation in the project review process, according to the regulator’s web site. Originally filed in October 2016 and amended in April 2017 to further reduce potential emissions from the proposed refinery, Meridian’s PTC application was the first application in history to seek permitting to construct a complex refinery under classification as a synthetic minor source (SMS) of air contaminants (OGJ Online, May 10, 2017; Oct. 11, 2016).
In addition to confirming Meridian’s selection of hydrocracking in lieu of fluid catalytic cracking for the refinery’s second 27,500-b/sd phase, or Davis Full, the PTC amendment outlined the operator’s decision to add vacuum distillation and hydrocracking units during the second phase to equip the refinery with greater product flexibility, including an ability to adjust the production ratio of ultralow-sulfur diesel to naphtha in order to meet changing market demands, ensure product quality, and further lower emission levels from the site.
With the project now reviewed and approved as an SMS by NDDH on a draft basis, Meridian said it hopes to receive approval of the final PTC permit in time to complete site grading and other work in early 2018 and to launch fabrication of refinery components for the first 27,500-b/sd Davis Light phase of the refinery by yearend.
Meridian previously had anticipated Davis Light to be commercially operating in early 2018, with the refinery’s Davis Full second-phase development to expand processing capacity to 55,000-b/sd sometime in 2019 (OGJ Online, Feb. 21,2017). Alongside the proposed refinery’s two 27,500-b/sd atmospheric distillation units, NDDH documents showed the refinery will be equipped with the following unit capacities. . .
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