MAKOTI, N.D. — The transload facility, the first part of the Three Affililated Tribes’ Thunder Butte Petroleum Services Inc. refinery project west of Makoti, will be finished this fall, said Tex Hall, tribal chairman.
“The transload facility is under construction now and will be complete Nov. 1, whereby we will transport Bakken crude to market,” Hall said Thursday.
The tribes broke ground for the refinery project in May 2013 and said the construction would be done in several phases.
The groundbreaking marked more than 10 years of work since the tribes first started making plans for a refinery for the Fort Berthold Reservation. The refinery was delayed at times because of the various federal permits and other approvals the tribes are required to obtain for the project.
Hall said the project management for Thunder Butte is Corval Group from Beulah.
“The refinery will be built in Houston, Texas, as a design-build 20,000 barrels per day clean fuels full-service product refinery and will be done in 22 months (2016),” Hall said.
He said the storage tanks that are at the refinery site are holding tanks for crude for either the transload facility or refinery.
The refinery is being planned as a facility to process 20,000 bpd of Bakken Formation crude oil into diesel fuel and other products.
The refinery is conservatively projected to cost $450 million.
Located about two and a half miles west of Makoti in southwest Ward County, there the tribes own 469 acres of land, with a portion of that land specifically for the refinery project. The site is near North Dakota Highway 23 and also Canadian Pacific Railway tracks.
The refinery is named for one of the most sacred buttes on the Fort Berthold Reservation.
Construction of the Dakota Prairie Refinery near Dickinson is roughly 75 percent complete and most of the jobs created there have already been filled, The Associated Press reported July 25. When completed, the Dakota Prairie Refinery and Thunder Butte Petroleum Services will be two of the first refineries built in the U.S. in many years.
The last refinery was built in Garyville, Louisiana, and began operating in 1976. The only refinery in North Dakota is the Tesoro Corp. facility in Mandan.