The Associated Press State & Local Wire
June 14, 2007 Thursday 5:26 PM GMT
SECTION: BUSINESS NEWS
Texas firm plans nation's first new oil refinery in over 30 years
By DIRK LAMMERS, Associated Press Writer
ELK POINT S.D.
Thousands of acres of farmland in the southeastern tip of South Dakota could become
home to the nation's first new oil refinery since 1976.
Hyperion Resources Inc., a privately held Dallas-based energy company, is
considering Elk Point and several other Midwest sites for the $8 billion refinery,
which would turn 400,000 barrels of crude oil from Canada per day into low-sulfur
gasoline and low-sulfur diesel fuel, said Preston Phillips, a Hyperion executive.
"This refinery is going to be the most advanced state-of-the-art facility in the
U.S. and the world," Phillips said at a news conference Wednesday.
Construction of the refinery would average 4,500 workers over a four-year period,
and the plant would employ 1,800 with an average hourly wage of $20 to $30 per hour,
Rumors about the secretive project dubbed "Gorilla" by local residents have been
rampant since word got out that the area was being considered for a large
Those in the know signed confidentiality agreements not to disclose details, leading
some residents to become amateur sleuths in an effort to flesh out the facts.
Phillips said that with all the speculation, the company felt it was time to
announce its intentions.
Dozens of landowners in a 12-square-mile area east of Interstate 29 and north of Elk
Point have said they've been approached about selling their land.
Jason Quam, who started a Web site to keep residents informed of the project, said
he owns a 9-acre homestead in the targeted area but hasn't sold it yet. He said he
got a fair offer from the company but certainly not top dollar.
"I'd have a very hard time rebuilding my home for the offer they made," he said.
The project, near the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers, would use 12 million gallons of
river water per day for cooling purposes, Union County commissioners have been told.
Hyperion, an oil and gas producer, also operates and invests in real estate,
agriculture and other ventures.
TransCanada, a Calgary-based company, is seeking a permit for the South Dakota
portion of its TransCanada Keystone Pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Patoka, Ill.
State officials have said the company intends to ship 435,000 barrels of crude oil a
day through a 30-inch, pressurized pipe through eastern South Dakota.
No connection has been announced between the pipeline and the refinery.