No new oil refinery has been built in the U.S. in more than 35 years. Now there are two in the works. A 20,000-barrel a day refinery in North Dakota is already under construction and on Monday a second was announced.
Houston-based Rock River Resources says it will build a 10,000-barrel a day refinery and rail terminal in Green River, Utah, at a cost of $230 million. Rock River expects to break ground on the project this year and to be operating the rail terminal by next year. The refinery is expected to be operational by mid-2015 and a wax plant that can process the black waxy crudes of eastern Utah into paraffin and lube oils is scheduled for completion by mid-2016.
Rock River expects to employ up to 300 workers at peak construction and about 125 workers once the plant is operational. In a Monday press release the company’s COO said:
[We have] received strong support from state and local community leaders and we have worked closely with them during the early phases of the project. Our goal is to be a partner with the community and ensure that the benefits of the project are felt not only in Green River, but across the state of Utah. We look forward to providing options for producers in the region.
The rail terminal will give producers in the region a cheaper way to get their crude to market. Currently truck transportation is the only choice and that is very costly.
A refinery was proposed in 2006 for the Ute Reservation in eastern Utah, but that plan did not materialize. There are already five oil refineries in and around Salt Lake City that process mostly Canadian crude.