USA: Engineering Raven Petroleum to Build Green Refinery in Texas
Raven Petroleum plans to use specialised technologies by combining cogeneration, natural gas and base-load renewable power to process Texas crude. The project is expected to benefit the region’s economy and generate jobs for the locals.
USA – The timing, technology and vision are right for Raven Petroleum to develop the first U.S.-based refinery in over 40 years. Christopher Moore is a Texas entrepreneur and the CEO of Raven Petroleum - and he’s choosing to build in Texas, to refine that ‘light, sweet Texas crude.’ The newly deregulated Mexican energy market and the surplus of Texas crude oil unlocked by the shale revolution are what make this the perfect opportunity.
Why export to Mexico? There’s a reason no new refineries have been built in the US in four decades: cost.
By focusing on the niche market of exporting, Raven Petroleum is able to overcome the high cost and barriers to entry by avoiding directly competing with the ‘big boys,’ like Exxon Mobil and Shell.
Moore is a Texan who wants to support Texans. Raven could more easily build the refinery in Mexico, and for less money, but he is determined to see Texas benefit from the immediate and long-term jobs the refinery will bring to South Texas. Early projections are that the project will create 1,500 to 1,800 jobs just during the construction phase, bringing much-needed financial growth to the area, and provide a sustained 300 to 400 permanent jobs. And he’s determined to prove he can do it with the safest and most environmentally friendly facility in existence today.
• Duval County, just outside of Laredo, Texas
• Direct rail access to Mexico via Kansas City Southern Railroad
• Two pipelines bisect the property
• Adjacent highway transportation access
• Access to ample feedstock from multiple Eagle Ford suppliers
• Ideal position for distribution to newly opened Mexican markets
• No other refineries located in the Laredo area
Size / Capacity
• 55,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) crude oil refinery
• Storage tank capacity of up to 4,000,000 barrels
• Capacity of 2 inbound and 2 outbound Unit trains per day
• Rail terminal infrastructure with approx 20 miles of internal track
• 200 acres with 6,000+ ft direct rail frontage on the KCS mainline
• Additional 632 acres for co-development
Clean Power and Refining Processes
• Use of resilient technology
• Use of clean energy: including cogeneration, low temperature geothermal, and natural gas
• Use of carbon capture technology
• Use of sustainable water solutions within the refining process
Planned Product Slate
• Diesel fuel
• LPG gas products
Raven understands that when the public hears the word ‘refinery,’ many see a dirty picture. But that picture is not Christopher Moore’s vision. The Raven Petroleum refinery will combine renewable power and technology that reduces carbon waste to create an environmentally safe refinery. This state-of-the-art facility will use geothermal and carbon capture technology to keep the air clean. “The big emissions are NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and CO2 (carbon dioxide), and our technology captures those,” said Moore.
Water Quality & Quantity
The Raven facility will also have a desalination plant to deal with the brackish water, and a water processing unit with proprietary technology to repurpose its used refining water back into the system. But don’t refineries require a lot of water? And doesn’t South Texas, like much of the state, have water concerns?
Moore is a Texan first, and like other true Texans, he is more focused on giving to the state, than in taking. Not a drop of water for the Raven facility will come from the public water supply or individual wells.
Health & Safety
Even with the carbon capture and reduced emissions that come from efficiently refining a much lighter crude, Moore is sensitive to public perceptions and concerns about health – particularly when it comes to area schools. That is one of the reasons why he purchased over 800 acres for a facility that requires less than 200 acres.
Raven has carefully calculated both the distance of the facility site, and the placement of the refinery within that 832 acres, to ensure no potentially harmful impact on the schools in nearby Bruni. Raven has also addressed concerns that any incident at the plant would tax the region’s protection and medical resources, such as first responders and emergency care, with plans to build an on-site triage center, complete with an Airvac to airlift its personnel in a worst-case scenario.
But in that health and safety planning process, Moore discovered that the community was woefully underserved when it came to its own medical facility. The company is helping to expand the local clinic – not, said Moore, for the Raven facility, but because “we’ll have people working in that community, and I want them to have access to care.”
In the case of an industrial accident, Raven has fire suppression systems with redundant backups - all of which would have to fail before there was a need to call upon local resources. There again, in planning for all contingencies, Moore discovered a need the community had that far exceeded the needs of the Raven refinery. He has plans to help rebuild the fire station and send its personnel to College Station for firefighter training.
Moore understands that wildlife concerns in South Texas take on a different urgency than in some other parts of the state; as a popular hunting area, healthy and plentiful wildlife brings much-needed income to counties where the unemployment rate frequently hovers around 8 to 10 per cent.
“We could have purchased a piece of land in that area of roughly 200 or 300 acres that would have more than sufficed for our facility footprint, while still giving us enough room to double or triple the facility in five years if needed,” said Moore.
Instead, Raven purchased the over-800-acre parcel to provide an expansive buffer zone to minimise impact on the wildlife, the environment, and surrounding landowners.