Construction of oil refinery to start in 2022 near North Dakota's only national park, CEO says

The proposed, financially troubled Davis Refinery has experienced multiple delays since state environmental regulators permitted the Houston, Texas-based Meridian Energy Group to build the facility in 2018. The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality first allowed the company an 18-month extension on its permit after the refinery stalled during litigation with environmental groups, and, before the second deadline expired on June 12, state regulators granted the project an additional 90 days to start construction or risk forfeiting its permit.

This time, Meridian met the state’s requirements for beginning construction ahead of a revised deadline Sunday, Sept. 12, allowing the company to keep its permit active.

In a late August letter, Meridian CEO William Prentice informed the Department of Environmental Quality that his company had entered into a binding contract with McDermott, an engineering firm also based in Houston, for the construction of the facility’s crude oil processing units. Prentice 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.

Department of Environmental Quality environmental engineer David Stroh said that with this

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