Construction of new domestic refinery could speed up production in the Bakken shale

As oil and gas companies deploy new production equipment and develop additional refining and transportation infrastructure, the country will continue to enjoy the benefits of expanding domestic energy production.

Last month, MDU Resources and Calumet Specialty Products Partners announced that they have formed a joint venture called Dakota Prairie Refining LLC. The new company will construct and operate a diesel refinery in southwestern North Dakota.

The new plant will be sited on a 318-acre stretch of land in Stark Country. According to a press release put out by MDU, once the facility is finished, it will be able to process up to 20,000 barrels of oil per day. Construction – scheduled to start as early as this spring – is expected to take about 20 months.

MDU Resources President and CEO David Goodin asserted that the project will produce tangible benefits for both the industry and the local economy.

"There is a strong existing market for the plant's production," explained Goodin. "Southwestern North Dakota also will benefit from the plant's good-paying, long-term jobs and from the two companies' longstanding commitment to the communities in which they operate and serve."

Technical challenges remain for companies looking to exploit shale reserves

Even with a new refining facility easing the flow of Bakken crude, companies operating in the area will still need to take steps to ensure they are achieving a high level of efficiency in order to remain competitive in the burgeoning unconventional energy sector.

Deploying new oil production equipment may be the best choice for firms that are looking to bolster their output. Installing hydraulic jet pumps can be particularly useful for getting the most out of new or existing oil and gas wells. This versatile solution can even be employed to maintain production from wells in which damaged casing precludes the use of other artificial lift equipment.