Proposed hyperion oil refinery doubles methane estimates

Methane emissions estimates increased twofold for the proposed tar sands oil refinery in Elk Point, S.D., which is near the South Dakota-Iowa border. (Photo: The City of Elk Point, SD.)

If it is ever built, it will be dirtier.

Texas-based Hyperion Refining LLC has altered its methane emission estimates on its proposed 400,000 barrel-a-day tar sands oil plant near the Iowa-South Dakota border.

It had previously omitted details about part of the refining process, reports the Sioux City Journal.

The company now expects the refinery to produce alsost twice as much methane – 980 tons per year instead of 498. That is significant, because as the Sioux City Journal reports:

Methane, an odorless gas, is considered a more potent greenhouse gas, trapping heat in the atmosphere at a rate 20 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Hyperion said it had inadvertently left coke drum steam vents out of its original estimates to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Tar sands is an extra dark, heavy oil that researchers like Scott Spak, at the University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, call “absolutely filthy.” And since the refinery was first proposed in 2007, it has drawn the ire of environmental groups and sparked a jobs vs. environment debate in Iowa politics.

Though Eric Williams, a Hyperion spokesperson, has said repeatedly that the company will stick to its timeline for constructing the $10 billion structure, an IEF review of documents relating to the permitting process showed that it likely won’t be built for years, if at all.

Since Hyperion announced Elk Point as the construction site in June 2007, the company has received just one of seven major permits required for its operation, and even that permit is tenuous.

See more coverage of this story in The Iowa Independent.

2 thoughts on “Proposed hyperion oil refinery doubles methane estimates

  1. they have not received any permits on the refinery. the air permit that was granted last august must be resubmitted due to change in EPA standards. that is how they found out that their estimates on methane were wrong.

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