Unconventional thinking just might advance the U.S. energy boom and the nation’s economy despite all the conventional thinking that Washington deploys to stall it.
One reaches that opinion by taking a glimpse at what is occurring far away from the Beltway in N. Dakota of all places. By now you know that thanks to the Bakken shale formation, N. Dakota today produces more oil than any state except Texas. People are working and the only thing in shortage there is housing to accommodate the growth.
That’s no blip on the radar screen; that fuel will be with us for many years. According to ND’s Dept. of Mineral Resources, they forecast that the state’s oil output will hit 850,000 barrels per day by early next year. And the most conservative analysts, according to Reuters, estimate that N. Dakota has at least a 50 year supply of oil which is accessible by fracking.
Accessing that fuel and transporting it from more than 8,000 oil-producing wells takes fuel too. Diesel. Lots of it. But because the state has only one refinery, it imports more than half of the 53,000 barrels of diesel consumed each day that’s needed to extract the oil and move it.
The daily need is projected to grow to 75,000 barrels a day by 2025, says Reuters. And N. Dakota has a novel solution to that problem:
MDU Resources Group http://investor.mdu.com/ and
Calumet Specialty Products are designing a refinery that will be built by
Ventech a company that specializes in building refineries in remote areas.
But it’s not the kind of refinery you’re thinking of… What they’ve got in mind they expect will be fully operational and producing 8,000 bpd of diesel in 20 months. It’s a modular refinery. That makes it easier and faster to build and easier to take apart and move in the future if there’s a need to do so. Yes, it’s portable refinery.
The officials in N. Dakota say they’ve got three new refinery proposals in the works. How refreshing is that?
With innovation like and the remarkable absence of red tape, perhaps there’s some versatility that could offer hope for California, Oregon, New York and maybe the Great Lakes too?