spwm refineryspwm refinery2A North Dakota judge recommended the state engineer approve a water allocation permit as requested by the company seeking to build a refinery near Belfield.

Three years after an initial conditional use permit was issued, the company continues to move ahead with planning and engineering for the proposed Davis Refinery. If completed, the 49.5M b/d refinery would be the first new crude oil refinery build in the U.S. since 1976, according to Meridian Energy, the builder.

The refinery water allocation permit would allow the facility to draw from the Dakota Aquifer, a briny, non-potable formation approximately 5,700 ft. deep at the refinery location. The ND Office of State Engineer determined the application does not compete with potable water demand for household or agriculture use.

The water permit application was challenged by three landowners who claimed the amount of withdrawal was excessive for beneficial use and unclear on how much was to be disposed.

As planned, the Davis Refinery would be the first full-conversion oil refinery to be granted classification as a synthetic minor source of air contaminants. Construction is scheduled to begin this year with first run slated for late in 2020, according to the company.