Thursday, November 12, 2015

Update On The MDU-Calument Diesel Topping Refinery West of Dickinson, ND -- November 12, 2015

Argus Media has an update on the MDU-Calumet refinery west of Dickinson:
Struggling Bakken crude producers have at least one refiner sharing their pain.
Dakota Prairie, a 20,000 b/d refining joint venture of MDU Resources and Calumet Specialty Products Partners that began operating in April, posted a $19.1mn loss in the third quarter.
At full rates, Dakota Prairie produces 7,000 b/d of diesel, 6,500 b/d of naphtha shipped to Canada for diluent and 6,000 b/d of atmospheric bottoms shipped to a Calumet refinery in Montana for processing through a hydrocracker. MDU Resources anticipated gross earnings of $60mn to $80mn at the facility, and considered a second refinery at similar scale as an April startup approached last year.
MDU Resources still expects the refinery to become profitable. Dakota Prairie has begun making a winter-grade diesel that MDU Resources expects could earn a 10¢/USG to 20¢/USG premium to other diesel. Contractor expenses will drop off next year as the facility gains more operating experience and needs fewer start up personnel.
Much, much more at the link.

Meanwhile, MDU appears to be having more success with its wind energy partner. RENews is reporting that its dicing and slicing project code-named Thunder Spirit is producing electricity:
Allete has announced that the first of 43 Nordex N100 turbines at the 107MW Thunder Spirit wind farm in North Dakota, USA has started to generate electricity.
The first turbine went online on October 21, rapidly followed by four more at the renewable energy farm which is being built about 100 miles southwest of Bismarck.
It is expected to be completed by December and the energy produced will be sold to Montana Dakota Utilities.
I don't know what happened to the rest of the turbines. Back in 2013, it was reported there would be 75 turbines (vs the 43 reported above) at a cost of $300 million. On August 11, 2015, it was reported that there would be only 43 turbines, 107.5 MW, but the cost not provided. $300 million / 107.5 MW  = $2.8 million / MW, but perhaps with 43 turbines, the price has come down.

From Outrun Change:
Some other info on the Thunder Spirit slice-and-dice farm near Hettinger, North Dakota:
  • Allete Clean Energy – the shell company that owns the wind farm, in turn a subsidiary of Allete.
  • 43 – number of turbines
  • 10,000 acres – footprint of wind farm
  • 2.7 – turbines per square mile
  • 2.5 MW – rated capacity of each turbine
  • 426,000 mWh – expected output per year for 43 turbines
  • 9,907 mWh – Expected annual output per turbine (calculated as 426,000 mWh divided by 43)
  • 10.86 hours – expected time each day that each turbine will be operating at capacity (calculated as 9907 mWh each turbine divided by 2.5 MW theoretical capacity divided by 365)
  • 45% – percent of theoretical capacity that is expected to actually be delivered. From what I have read, this would be an extraordinarily efficient wind farm. I expect the actual capacity to be below 45%.
The expected utilization is that the wind farm will deliver 45% of the theoretical capacity.
A google search results in numerous articles with differing number of turbines, different costs, etc, etc. The Bismark Tribune reported it was a $350 million project for 150 MW back in 2013 when it was just getting approved, or about $2.3 million / MW. Whatever the actual number, it seems to be running about what onshore wind farms are going for in the US.

At the end of the day, about 100 MW, about $2.5 million / MW, and smack dab in the center of one of North America's busiest flyways.

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