State might be getting more refined

South Dakota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2007  | September 2007 issue

The city of Elk Point is being considered for an $8 billion oil refinery by Hyperion, a privately held investment firm in Dallas. The firm has chosen several Midwestern sites, but this tiny city in the very southeastern corner of the state is reportedly an odds-on favorite.

Rumors of the project swirled before the company went public in June. Once completed, the refinery would process 400,000 barrels daily. The site would cover several thousand acres and include a power plant using petroleum coke byproduct to generate electricity. Final site selection is not expected until next year, according to Hyperion.

It would be hard to overstate the potential economic impact on Union County or the state. The refinery would employ about 4,500 during the construction phase and an estimated 1,800 long-term workers once operational. It's also hard to overstate the obstacles: Despite constrained refining capacity, only one other refinery is even in the works (in Arizona)—that one first sought permits in 1998, and the facility is not expected to be completed until at least 2011.

Ronald A. Wirtz