Dakota Prairie refinery begins Bakken operations

By The Bakken Magazine Staff | June 18, 2015

The Dickinson, North Dakota-based Dakota Prairie refinery has begun operations, MDU Resources Group Inc. and Calumet Specialty Products Partners L.P., the joint-partner on the refinery, announced in May. The refinery is the first greenfield fuels refinery built in the U.S. in nearly 40 years.

“Over time, we expect that this refinery has the potential to be an important contributor to the economic growth of the local and state economy.”

The refinery can process 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Bakken crude, resulting in a production slate which includes up to 7,000 bpd that can be sold from the plant to regional customers.

The Dakota Prairie refinery will also produce up to 6,500 bpd of naphtha, which is used as a diluent to transport heavy oil by pipeline or as a feedstock in gasoline production; up to 6,000 bpd of atmospheric tower bottoms, which can be used as feedstock for lubricating oils; and other refined products, the company said.

Construction of the facility began on March 26, 2013, on a 318-acre site that is located roughly four miles west of Dickinson. The original start date for diesel production was slated for the end of 2014. The delay was partially due to late revisions made to electrical systems, the company said. At its peak construction, the site employed more than 800 workers, and since becoming operational, it now employs 80. MDU estimates the total cost of the plant to be approximately $435 million.

MDU is currently considering a second diesel refinery near Minot, North Dakota. “In the future, we expect there will be great opportunities to improve financial performance of the refinery through debottlenecking and other strategies. We also will benefit from experience gained with this project to help develop future projects, such as a second plant,” Goodin said.