Build an Oil Refinery?

Since all nearby oil refineries (Billings, Cheyenne, Rapid City) are committed to long-term contracts with Canadian oil producers and nobody in Wyoming can find a market for crude (footnote, low crude prices mean low severance taxes, low diversion to the permanent state funds, low county property [ad valorem] taxes, and no activity means no sales taxes), should someone build a new oil refinery?

The unbelievably huge oil boom in Williston, North Dakota has no local market; they are loading crude on unit tanker trains and hauling to Oklahoma, at huge expense.  Could we build a new refinery in the Powder River Basin?


Malcolm Wallop, the darling of the environmentalists in the early 1970s, tried to build (1) a slaughterhouse and (2) a rural subdivision in Sheridan County. Being a darling counts for nothing in NIMBY land.  Neither was built.

Several oil companies are having huge success drilling horizontal wells in the Niobrara formation in Converse County; this play will spread into Natrona, Niobrara, Platte and Goshen counties. But, where will the oil go?

No one is building new refineries. The big companies are just expanding the existing refineries on the Gulf Coast.  Hurricane alley.

Think about local ways to make more out of raw resources.  Sawmill operators want to build value-added production.  Gas producers want to get a better price for gas. Maybe burning it in local gas-burning peaking power plants to complement wind generators would work.  Oil producers pay huge premiums to truck their oil to out-of-state refineries.

Can’t we build some of these value-added factories here? And think of this, why couldn’t prison inmates — male and female — work in factories which convert raw lumber into window rails, doors, dowels, trim, cabinet pieces and the like?

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