Refining Hopes in South Dakota

By June 11, 2008Energy, Trade

Union County, S.D., voters have expressed strong support for construction and operation of a new oil refinery in their county, the first new refinery in the United States in three decades. From the Sioux City Journal:

On Tuesday (June 3rd), county voters approved, by a 58 percent to 42 percent margin, Hyperion’s request to rezone 3,292 acres of farm land just north of Elk Point for a 400,000-barrel-a-day oil refinery and gasification power plant.

That’s a $10 billion project to produce ultra-low sulfur gasoline (ULSG), including reformulated blends and various grades of conventional gasoline and ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD). An integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant will produce hydrogen, power and steam for the refinery, consuming refinery’s petroleum coke byproduct. 

A $10 billion project? Good thing oil companies make money.

Hyperion Energy, based in Houston, has a webpage devoted to the Hyperion Energy Center  with lots more details, including a FAQ. The Sioux City Journal also has a blog devoted to the topic.

It’s expected the crude oil would come from the Alberta oil sands, yet another target for environmental groups who oppose any expanded energy production. We note the Canadian-American Business Council is holding its annual general meeting across the street today at the Ronald Reagan Building, an event, “Northern Exposure: Can Canada Reduce the United States’ Reliance on OPEC Supply?” 

We sure hope so. But domestic U.S. production better also play a part. Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL) on CNBC (quoted here, about 2 minutes into the CNBC video): “I think you have to have a blend of both — obviously more production — but also start to invest, which has not happened, in (energy) alternatives as well.”


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