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EIA: rising North Dakota oil production and demand spurs two new small refineries

One of two new small (20,000 bbl/d each) refineries being built in North Dakota broke ground this week, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in a brief. The Dakota Prairie facility is scheduled to be built in 20 months. The impetus for the state’s second and third refineries is the rapid increase in demand for diesel fuel and kerosene for trucking and industrial use within the state.

North Dakota currently has one refinery, the Tesoro Mandan refinery located near Bismarck. With a capacity of 58,000 bbl/d, its primary products include diesel fuel, jet fuel, heavy fuel oils, and liquefied petroleum gas. The two new smaller refineries will be fairly simple units that focus on creating the diesel and kerosene that are needed locally.

Much of the increase in demand has been fueled by the boom in crude oil production from the new wells in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota’s northwest corner. Demand for these middle distillates rose 80% in North Dakota from 2009 to 2012, providing the incentive to invest in local refineries.

The Dakota Prairie refinery is a joint venture of MDU Resources Group and Calumet Specialty Products and will primarily make diesel fuel.

The Trenton Diesel Refinery is also planned, but no start-up date has been announced; it received an air quality permit from the North Dakota Department of Health in early 2012.

Ndmap2-1
Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.

The Trenton Diesel Refinery, the parent company of which is Dakota Oil Processing, is expected to cost $200 million to build and start-up. It will have an atmospheric distillation column, hydrotreater, naphtha stabilizer, and associated process equipment.

According to Dakota Oil Processing’s website, the primary product from the refinery will be light gas oil, a type of distillate. Other products will be naphtha, which may be used in the petrochemical industry or mixed into heavy crude oil to make it easier to transport; kerosene that the refinery plans to blend with the distillate pool to maximize distillate yield; atmospheric gas oil, a type of heavy distillate; and heavy fuel oil, which can be sold in the bunker fuel market.

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