Texas operator lets contract for proposed Cushing decarbonized refinery

July 3, 2023

Prairie Energy Partners LLC, a subsidiary of Southern Rock Energy Partners LLC, El Campo, Tex., let a contract to KBR Inc. to undertake a feasibility study for a proposed full-conversion, decarbonized refinery in Cushing, Okla., that will process US-produced light, sweet conventional and shale crudes into low-carbon transportation fuels.

KBR’s delivery of the feasibility study as part of the June 15 contract will support development of the planned 250,000-b/d refinery.

KBR said it will provide expert consulting services, including a feasibility study in the formative stages of the project, as well as key technical information for the individual process units focused on incorporating best practices into a design that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) with the potential for future reduction of GHG for a sustainable operation.

The contract  award follows the operator’s recent confirmation that the proposed $5.56-billion project will proceed for development in Cushing (OGJ Online, May 30, 2023).

Scheduled for a 36-month construction period beginning in 2024 for targeted startup of operations in 2027, the decarbonized refinery will be designed to reduce and eliminate 95% of GHG emissions and produce about 91.25 million bbl/year (3.83 billion gal/year) of cleaner transportation fuels—including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel—using domestically produced light, sweet West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and sweet shale West Texas Light (WTL) and West Texas Condensate (WTC) crudes sourced from Anadarko, Permian, Denver-Julesburg, and Bakken basins.

In addition to its outfitting with technologies and processes capable of reducing or eliminating GHG emissions, the proposed refinery will include technologies to reduce water production and consumption by 90%, with 80% of wastewater further recycled and repurposed.

Unlike most conventional refineries that power process heating units with natural gas, Prairie Energy Partners’ planned refinery would instead combine pure oxygen with blue hydrogen (produced from refinery offgases) and green hydrogen (from electrolysis) to yield a primary-waste stream of steam.

Alongside including an associated carbon capture and storage (CCS) system for its hydrogen complex, the refinery also would be powered by 100% renewable electricity, either sourced from the grid or generated on-site from recycled and repurposed waste heat or geothermal and solar assets.

SREP previously said project plans also include construction of:

  • A new bidirectional refined products pipeline connecting to nearby terminals.
  • An 8-bay truck terminal.
  • A 300-car rail terminal.
  • A 4-barge marine terminal at or near the project site.

In an August 2022 project description, Prairie Energy Partners said the 250,000-b/d decarbonized refinery would include the following major installations:

  • A crude distillation unit consisting of two 125,000-b/d process trains.
  • Naphtha, diesel hydrotreaters.
  • Isomerization units.
  • Continuous catalytic reformers.
  • Hydrocrackers.
  • Renewable diesel unit.
  • Autothermal reforming-based hydrogen complex, associated CCS complex.
  • Water, wastewater production and recycling complex.
  • On-site renewable-electricity production plant.