Proposed changes to Dickinson refinery could be a win for agricultural community

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Last year the Dickinson Refinery changed its name from Tesoro to Andeavor, and there are even more changes on the way that could be beneficial to the local ag community. 

The refinery is proposing to convert itself from a petroleum based refinery to a 12,000 barrel a day vegetable oil refinery.

“It will look, taste, and smell just like regular diesel fuel, ” said Ron Day, Government & Public Affairs Manager for Andeavor.

Andeavor recently put in an application for an air quality draft permit to construct with the North Dakota Department of Health.

“There will be a lot of construction. We anticipate roughly two years worth of construction, ” said Day.

The department of health said the vegetable oil produced will be a clean form of energy for cars, but there will still be some pollutants emitted from the refinery.

“Processing this the nitrogen oxide emissions are going to be higher than what they were for the crude processor,” said Terry O’Clair, Director of NDDoH Air Quality Division.

O’Clair also said facility would still qualify as a minor source, if it changes over to a vegetable oil refinery.

The renewable fuel source that Andeavor plans on creating won’t be seen at any gas stations or pumps here in North Dakota. It will be shipped a couple of hundred miles away. 

“This meets some needs from our other refineries in California,for the low carbon fuel standards that they have out there,” said Day.

The vegetable oil will be transported out to California by rail in Dickinson, but Day said the source of the fuel is in North Dakota.

“The soybeans are here. We are also looking at using corn oil.”

Senator Rich Wardner, of the North Dakota State Legislature and a Dickinson resident, sees the project as a win for the ag community with the recent trade wars.

“This will take care of some of the issues with the tariffs We are finding a home for our soybeans right here in North Dakota.”

The department of health said there will be a 30 day comment period on the draft permit that ends this month, and the senator thinks there wont’ be any issues.

“It sits down here, runs quiet. . . its very environment friendly,” said Wardner

Andeavor will be hosting an open house on August 13 in Dickinson to answer questions about the proposed changeover.

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