The Making of a ND Powerhouse

By Staff Report | March 28, 2013

The need for a new diesel refinery in North Dakota couldn’t be more obvious. The state may produce more than 750,000 barrels of crude oil per day, but it imports more than half of its diesel fuel. The current diesel demand of roughly 53,000 barrels per day, is expected to increase to 75,000 barrels per day by 2025. Diesel production capacity within the state is currently at 22,000 barrels per day. In approximately 20 months, the diesel refining capacity will be 42,000 bpd, thanks to a joint venture that is adding more to the state’s oil infrastructure than just refining capacity.

Dakota Prairie Refining LLC, the joint venture between MDU Resources Group Inc., the Bismarck-based company with subsidiary firms in several fields of the oil and gas industry, and Calumet Specialty Products LP, a hydrocarbon refiner, will be built south of Dickinson, N.D. The state's Department of Health has already issued an air quality permit, meaning the 20,000 bpd, $300-million project can immediately begin construction. When construction does begin, the refinery's impact will hit the state before a drop of diesel is produced.

At least seven major companies are already involved in the project, which during construction, will create 400 to 500 jobs, according to MDU Resources Group. Westcon Inc., will operate as the general contractor. Ventech Engineers International LLC, (whose plant design is in the final stages,) will provide the equipment and technology. WBI Energy will supply natural gas to operate the plant. Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., will supply electricity, and Fidelity Exploration & Production will supply the crude oil from its Bakken production efforts. For construction materials, Knife River Corp. will handle the role.

Gov. Jack Darlympe calls the plant “good news for North Dakota and the entire nation.” David Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources says, “There is a strong existing market for the plant’s production,” that will help long-term job creation. For the state, new energy-based jobs and new diesel capacity will only reiterate the state’s place among the nation’s leaders in economic growth. For MDU Resources, the refinery will be a significant accomplishment establishing the company as a regional oil and gas powerhouse, as WBI Energy, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., Fidelity Exploration & Production and Knife River Corp., are all subsidiaries of MDU Resources.