Proximity to the Keystone XL pipeline being built through East Texas is said to be one reason for continuing interest in development of a refinery in Rusk County.
The proposed refinery, which could produce 40,000 barrels a day and carries a price tag of about $220 million, would be built on a site near New London.
“(The Keystone pipeline) is crossing Texas 64 no more than about 12 to 15 miles from there,” said Miles Toler, spokesman for Rusk County Refinery, the new group pushing the development. “And of course there’s lots of pipe in the area, some railroad availability, and that property really lent itself to what we want to do.”
Toler said the refinery being planned would produce three grades of gasoline and three grades of fuel oil, including diesel and jet fuel.
New plans for the refinery emerged after Gregg County Refinery failed to meet a deadline late last year to qualify for low-interest Hurricane Ike bonds channeled through the Angelina-Neches River Authority.
Gregg County Refinery
Ken Williams is the principal agent for Gregg County Refinery. Those plans called for utilizing the long-idled Longview Refinery on Premiere Road as a terminal and portions of the refinery equipment being dismantled and used at the new site.
“Of course you know this is away from Gregg County Refinery,” Toler said of the new group, which is led by oilman Coleman Ferguson. “This is all Coleman.”
Ferguson is a Texas resident, Toler said, with properties in Tulsa, Houston and Georgetown. He retired as a vice president of refining at Texaco and currently owns several businesses, Toler said. Rusk County Refinery is a Texas limited liability corporation.
Because of the size of the planned project and time it will take to establish financing, Toler said it could be 2014 before work begins.
“By the time you get all financing put together, dot your i’s and cross your t’s – I’d think that’s a pretty good date,” he said.
Angelina-Neches River Authority Executive Director Kelley Holcomb this past week confirmed the agency’s interest in helping to secure tax-exempt private activity bonds for a refinery in Rusk County.
“We are loosely engaged,” Holcomb said. “Some aspects of a refinery project dealing with the environment — air quality issues, for example — could qualify to be tax-exempt. Others might be low-interest.”
The land Gregg County Refinery selected for the refinery, but never purchased, is a little more than a mile southeast of the intersection of Texas 42 and Texas 323, said Duane Gordy, a consultant who was engaged both in the original development effort and the new one.
Rusk County tax records show 150 acres being eyed for the project were owned by Near Bore Resources.