Equinor is proposing to build a crude oil conditioning facility that could process up to 40,000 barrels of oil per day on a 5 to 20-acre tract 10 miles southwest of Williston near Trenton.
The facility, being less than 50,000 barrels per day, does not require PSC oversight. PSC Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said there are probably many oil conditioning facilities like this in the state, but it’s not known how many, since most of them fall below the 50,000 barrel per day threshold. Whiting has the only proposal for an oil conditioning facility regulated by the PSC.
It is not clear if Equinor’s proposed facility will require permits from Williams County. Development Services Director Kameron Hymer said in most cases it would require a zone change to heavy industrial and a CUP, but without a pre-application meeting he is not certain those items would be required.
Right now, Equinor is in the middle of seeking a permit to construct the oil conditioning facility under the synthetic minor designation from the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality. That agency is proposing to issue the facility a permit to construct, and is taking public comments on the matter from April 1 through April 30.
Direct comments in writing to the NDDEQ, Division of Air Quaiity, 918 E Divide Avenue, Bismarck, ND 58501-1947 or email AirOuaiity@nd.gov. Re: Public Comment Permit Number PTC20016. Comments submitted by email must be sent to the email address listed by 11:59 central time on the last day of the public comment period. Comments sent to any other email address will not be considered.
A public hearing regarding issuance of the permit will be held if a significant degree of public interest exists as determined by the NDDEQ.
Requests for a public hearing must be received in writing by the NDDEQ before the end of the public comment period.
The Trenton Central RVP station will be located in an area already used for industrial facilities, according to application materials submitted by Bison Engineering on behalf of Equinor to DEQ. Equipment that will be included in the facility include, but are not limited to heaters, separators, tanks, chillers, combustion control devices, and truck loading/unloading bays.
The facility would heat crude oil from the surrounding basin, reducing its Reid Vapor Pressure so that it meets state rules for transporting crude oil via pipeline or rail cars, according to application documents.
The facility would generally operate six months of the year during winter months, as the ambient temperature in other months already adequately reduces RVP for interstate transport.
While the facility can process up to 40,000 barrels of oil per day, it isn’t anticipated that it will process more than 9,125,000 barrels per year (25,000 barrels per day average), since it only operates in the winter.
Most of the oil coming to the facility will be delivered via pipeline. The oil will be heated to 200 degrees F, then sent to a bulk separator, after which it will be cooled to 64 degrees F. From there the oil will either be stored in tanks, or sent to market via pipeline.
There will be an emergency truck loading rack at the tanks in case of any malfunction in the pipeline. Off-spec oil from nearby facilities could also be brought in by truck for processing.
The system is designed to be a closed-loop system, using vapors created from heating the oil to 200 degrees as fuel. But there will also be low and high pressure flares on sight for any excess vapors not used.