MMEX Resources Corp. has gained regulatory approval to move forward with its modified plan to build what will now be an integrated ultralow-sulfur fuels refining and hydrogen production complex equipped with carbon capture in Pecos County, Tex., near the Sulfur Junction spur of the Texas Pacifico railroad, about 20 miles northeast of Fort Stockton (OGJ, Dec. 4, 2017, p. 22; OGJ Online, Mar. 3, 2020).
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on Feb. 18 approved the operator’s plan to build and operate the proposed solar-powered UltraClean refining complex with carbon capture, MMEX said on Feb. 22.
With TCEQ’s approval and 100% of the project’s front-end engineering and design (FEED) package now completed, MMEX will now move forward with planned financing and commercial arrangements for the complex, according to Jack W. Hanks, MMEX’s president and chief executive officer.
The operator already has signed letters of intent with an unidentified international trading company to supply crude oil and purchase finished products from the planned refinery, Hanks said.
Previously slated to produce 10,000 b/d of ultralow-sulfur diesel and gasoline from West Texas light crudes using proprietary UltraClean technology licensed by Polaris—which will also act as engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor on the project—the Pecos County complex now will be able to produce 11,600 b/d of fuels following revisions to the process design to enable additional crude flexibility, according to a July 29, 2021, release from MMEX.
Designed to become the world’s first oil refinery to fully capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the 450-acre complex will be equipped with carbon-capture technology licensed by BASF SE from its proprietary OASE technology portfolio, MMEX confirmed in a December 2021 release.
The project site will additionally include the capability to produce up to 50 tonnes/day of green hydrogen using Siemens AG subsidiary Siemens Energy AG’s proprietary Silyzer 300 electrolyser technology, as well as an installation able to produce 60 tonnes/day of blue hydrogen via steam-methane reforming and hydrogen liquefaction, the operator said in late-August 2021.
MMEX said in August 2021 it also had entered a contract to buy another 632 acres of nearby land for construction of a solar power complex that will power the refining, green hydrogen, and blue hydrogen installations.
While MMEX’s website confirms the modularly-based project will enable an expedited construction period of 15-18 months, a definitive timeline for the project’s completion has yet to be disclosed.
MMEX said the revised Pecos County UltraClean project comes as an interim step in its move to clean energy production ahead of the broader transition to a hydrogen economy.