MMEX Resources Corp. on Tuesday announced that it plans to build a 50,000-barrel per day (bpd) crude oil refinery in the Permian Basin of West Texas. The $450 million project will create approximately 400 peak construction jobs and an estimated 100 jobs during operations, according to the company.
"The Permian Basin is the largest continuous oil discovery in America and has experienced exponential gains in daily production volume recently," Jack W. Hanks, MMEX's president and CEO, stated in a press release. "The existing facilities and pipeline networks are largely unequipped to handle this growth and are limiting where products can be transported."
The MMEX project would be the fourth refinery in the Permian, which is currently home to 300,000 bpd of refining capacity, Hanks told Rigzone. Existing Permian refineries operate in Big Spring and El Paso in Texas and in Artesia, N.M.
MMEX plans to build its refinery on a 250-acre site in Pecos County approximately 20 miles northeast of Fort Stockton. The site, which will be surrounded by 250 additional acres of buffer property, sits near the Sulfur Junction spur of the Texas Pacifico Railroad. The company plans to use the existing railway access to export diesel, gasoline, jet fuels, liquefied petroleum gas and crude oil to western Mexico and South America.
"By building a state-of-the-art refinery along the region's existing railway infrastructure, we hope to bring a local and export market for crude oil and refined products which will add substantial job and economic growth to West Texas," stated Hanks.
As one of the newest refineries built in the U.S. in four decades, the MMEX facility will boast "state-of-the-art emissions technologies" to minimize environmental impact, the company said. MMEX also expects to deploy closed-in water and air-cooling systems, which it said would enable the refinery to use minimal local water resources.
"Closed-in water systems conserve water resources by filtering and re-using the same amount of water on a continual basis rather than continually pumping in and out water," explained Hanks. "Some water will be needed to replace evaporation, but the total amount needed is quite minimal."
The refinery's air-cooling systems will replace the need for cooling water, he said, adding that MMEX will draw water from an existing aquifer on-site rather than pump it in from another location.
MMEX is engaged in the state permitting process and expects this phase to run through much of this year.
"We're still in due diligence stages with the plans for the Pecos County refinery and are currently in the process of conducting environmental studies necessary to apply for an air permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality," Hanks said. "That process could take several months to complete, but we're in ongoing conversations with TCEQ as well as with local county officials regarding plans for the project."
The company anticipates construction to begin in early 2018, with operations potentially commencing the following year.