April 14, 2016

Refinery project still moving forward

By Jerry W. Kram

Despite some bumps in the road, the Thunder Butte Oil Refinery project is still moving forward.

Construction has begun on an administration building at the refinery site near Makoti, according to Richard Mayer, CEO of Thunder Butte Petroleum Services. He also said that the tanks that were built on the site last year will be leased for oil storage sometime this summer.

The building being built on the site will contain offices, shop space, and a laboratory when it is completed. It will be the permanent home for the tribally owned companies headquarters that is now located in Parshall. Work is also proceeding on a truck loading and unloading station that will allow the company to use the large tanks built on site as a crude oil storage facility.

The company’s original plans had a rail spur built on the site so the tanks could be used as a rail transload facility connecting to the nearby Canadian Pacific rail line. Mayer said the rail spur has been delayed until the engineering is finished on the entire refinery complex. However, the company plans to start leasing the oil tanks on the site for crude oil storage this summer.

"We will still be a transload facility," Mayer said. "It will just be that we will be unloading and loading trucks instead of railcars."

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