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Meridian lets contract for civil construction of North Dakota refinery

Meridian Energy Group Inc. has let a contract to SEH Design|Build Inc. (SEH D|B)—a subsidiary of Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc., Bismarck, ND—to deliver site, civil design, and construction services for Meridian’s recently approved grassroots 49,500-b/sd high-conversion Davis refinery to be built in Billings County in the heart of southwestern North Dakota’s Bakken shale region (OGJ Online, Aug. 10, 2016).

SEH D|B will lead civil construction activities by refining site grading plans to establish final grades and contours, with initial construction activities to include installation of erosion-control devices, storm-water pond development, and ditch shaping to establish vegetation and ensure runoff will be addressed before erosive issues develop to protect surrounding areas and existing waterways, Meridian said.

As part of the contract, SEH D|B will employ a team of local subcontractors from Belfield and surrounding areas, including Martin Construction Inc., Dickinson, ND, which will act as the primary site developers for the civil construction, as well as ABC Fencing, Belfield, ND, which will be responsible for installation of erosion-control devices and installation of perimeter fencing designed for safety and security around the Davis site.

Start of civil construction on the refinery follows the North Dakota Department of Health’s (NDDH) division of air quality issuance of the final permit-to-construct (PTC).

With the project originally approved for a phased 55,000-b/sd capacity, now that Meridian has been awarded the PTC, the operator is undertaking additional engineering to define the capacity-configuration details for Davis; however, because of the need to move the project forward quickly after the permitting delays, Meridian no longer plans to phase in the refinery as previously planned, William Prentice, Meridian’s chief executive, recently told OGJ.

While capacity of Davis will be substantially greater than the originally planned 27,500-b/sd first phase, at no time will Meridian build and operate a refinery capable of processing 50,000 b/sd or more of crude unless and until the company obtains additional required permitting from the North Dakota Public Service Commission, Prentice added.

First filed in October 2016 and amended in April 2017 to further reduce potential emissions from the proposed refinery, Meridian’s PTC application is the first application in history for a full-conversion refinery of this size and complexity to seek and receive permitting to construct under classification as a synthetic minor source (SMS) of air contaminants .

Alongside its yet-to-be-determined final crude processing capacity not to exceed 50,000 b/sd, the project’s final PTC permit dated June 12 allows the refinery to include the following major processing units:

• A 16,800-b/sd vacuum distillation unit.

• An 18,205-b/sd naphtha hydrotreating unit.

• A 16,128-b/sd catalytic reforming unit.

• A 4-19-MMcfd hydrogen production unit.

• A 19,850-b/sd distillate hydrotreating unit.

• A 14,380-b/sd hydrocracking unit.

• An 11.5-tonne/day sulfur recovery unit equipped with Merichem Co.’s proprietary LO-CAT hydrogen sulfide removal technology.

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