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TECH SHOWCASE: ‘Unheard of’ Refinery

Matthew Veazey, Rigzone Staff


On Dec. 5, 2017, the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) granted Meridian Energy Group, Inc. a draft permit to construct its proposed Davis Refinery in Belfield, N.D. The NDDoH decision launched a 45-day public comment period, after which Meridian hopes to obtain a permit to construct (PTC).

The PTC would allow Meridian to break ground on the 49,500-barrel per day complex in early 2018.In its application for the PTC, Meridian asserts that its high-conversion refinery – located in the heart of the Bakken shale formation – will qualify as a “Synthetic Minor Source” from an emissions perspective.

“A Synthetic Minor Source refers to the emission levels of the refinery, designated to emission levels well below 100 tons of particulates per year,” explained William Prentice, Meridian’s CEO. He said that it is “unheard of” for a refinery with Davis’ scale and scope to meet such strict emissions criteria. “In fact, Davis is the first refinery of its complexity in history to ever receive a draft PTC as a Synthetic Minor Source,” continued Prentice. “We see this as a major step toward reshaping the industry and redefining environmentally compliant refining facilities moving forward.”

According to Meridian, the refinery will produce light distillates (gasoline and naphtha), middle distillates (diesel fuel, fuel oil and kerosene/jet fuel) and heavy/bottom distillates (lubricants, motor oil and asphalt base). Moreover, the company said the facility will:
• feature technologies to remove benzene and sulfur from gasoline production
• include combustion control technology in the flare stack to curb releases of carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx)
• deploy leak-detection sensors and optical infrared imaging throughout the facility to monitor valves, gaskets and seals for volatile organic compound (VOC) releases

Prentice told Rigzone that the project is unique in other ways as well. Keep reading to learn more about the planned North Dakota refinery, along with when the company plans to begin filling job openings.

Rigzone: From design, construction and operations standpoints, how does this project fall outside the norm?
Prentice: This project is comprehensively designed with the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) from top to bottom. This technology will ensure that the Davis Refinery will meet and exceed the Lowest Achievable Emission Rates (LAER).
From a construction standpoint, the schedule will be truly unique in that, once Meridian breaks ground in early 2018, the first construction phase of the refinery will be operational in early 2019 and the full refinery operational in 2020. This abbreviated schedule is not the norm for the refining industry of old. As you can see, Meridian is literally setting the new design standard for modern oil refining and has redefined what’s possible by applying today’s technology in all phases – planning, construction, operation, emissions control and, of course, ongoing regulation and monitoring.

Rigzone: What sort of job creation do you anticipate during construction as well as operations? Are you actively seeking workers?
Prentice: Meridian anticipates nearly 500 employment opportunities during the construction phase of Davis. Once the refinery is in full operation there will be 200 permanent, competitive high-paying job opportunities. The Davis Refinery will create between 1,500 and 2,000 indirect and induced jobs throughout the local region. Meridian is currently accepting resumes and will begin the hiring process for many of the open positions in early 2018.


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