Construction of the Davis Refinery in Belfield, North Dakota, has been scheduled to begin construction in 2022 as confirmed by Meridian Energy Group, a Texas-based company. The project has faced several delays due to state environmental regulators who were not particularly fond of the idea of an oil refinery being constructed just 3 miles away from the only National Park in the state, Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality first allowed the company an 18-month extension on its permit. This was after the refinery stalled during litigation with environmental groups, and, before the second deadline expired on June 12. State regulators then granted the project an additional 90 days to start construction or risk forfeiting its permit.
Meridian CEO William Prentice has since stated that his company had entered into a binding contract with McDermott, an engineering firm also based in Houston. The construction of the facility’s crude oil processing units will be handled by McDermott. The CEO said in the letter that termination of the contract with McDermott would result in substantial forfeiture of money amounting to about 10% of the total project costs, which the company has estimated at north of a billion dollars.
The next steps for the North Dakota refinery will include design work and the fabrication and procurement of facility modules, all of which the company has said will happen off-site. Since its initial proposal, the Meridian project has been a major point of concern to environmental groups opposed to the construction of a refinery so close to North Dakota’s only national park. Opponents of the project have frequently raised Meridian’s track record of unpaid bills, delays, and lawsuits to question the project’s viability.