BELFIELD, N.D., Jan. 22, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meridian Energy Group, Inc., the leading developer of innovative and environmentally-compliant oil refining facilities, advanced one step closer toward issuance of the final Permit to Construct (PTC) for the Davis Refinery with a public information meeting and public hearing held last week. The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) – Air Quality Division conducted the meeting, at Dickinson State University.

This meeting was held during the 45-day public comment period, which ends on Friday, January 26th. Meridian understands that following the end of the comment period NDDoH will respond to the relevant comments and then finalize and issue the PTC to Meridian. The Presentation of Meridian’s Permit Application and the draft PTC by the NDDoH was very informative, and provided the NDDoH view of the technical merits of the Project and the reasoning behind the decision by NDDoH to issue the Draft PTC for public comment on December 8th, 2017. The purpose of the meeting was for the public to offer comments relating to the Air Quality permit only.

The turnout for the meeting was overwhelmingly supportive. Even though a minority of the attendees had concerns about the project, they provided the majority of the public comments. It was interesting to Meridian that of those in attendance who spoke up against the location of the Project, none of those offered any comment that was relevant to the Draft PTC itself. Meridian and its representatives considered the meeting a success and offered its gratitude to the NDDoH on such a well-run, informative meeting.

William Prentice, CEO of Meridian Energy Group said of the Public Comment Meeting, “After fifteen months of intense effort, NDDoH had an opportunity to present its case on why they have decided to issue the Draft PTC that they intend to approve for the Davis Refinery. In the opinion of Meridian, the presentation by NDDoH staff displayed the professional expertise and dedication to the mission of the Agency that has distinguished NDDoH throughout the PTC process. NDDoH has done an exceptional job on a very complicated and innovative Project, and when the cleanest refinery on the planet goes into operation, Meridian hopes that NDDoH will be just as proud of that accomplishment as Meridian will be.”

Natalie Muruato, Belfield City Auditor on the turnout from the public, “We were very happy to see the progress that the Department of Health has made on this project, and hope that they will quickly move to approve the final permit after the end of the comment period. We were also very surprised by the Health Department’s presentation displaying just how clean the Davis Refinery will be when in operation. It was great to see a majority of the 200 or so people in attendance in support of the Davis Refinery project. It was validating that my comments during the meeting were met with applause from the audience. I think it showed the Department of Health how much support this project receives from Belfield and Stark and Billings Counties.”

Meridian was issued a Draft Permit to Construct by the North Dakota Department of Health – Air Quality Division in early December 2017 and anticipates Final Permit to Construct issuance within a reasonable period following the end of the public comment period on January 26th. The amount of time that it will take to finalize the PTC will depend upon the ability of NDDoH to respond quickly to the various comments received.

Because of the number of comments received during the hearing regarding the location, or siting of the Project, it is worth noting that in July 2016, the Billings County Board of Commissioners approved Meridian’s application for rezoning and a conditional use permit to build the Davis Refinery at the present site in Billings County just west of the City of Belfield. This gives Meridian the ability to build and operate the Davis Refinery at that location once other relevant permits have been received. The PTC is the last substantial permit required before construction of the initial phase of the Davis Refinery can begin. It is well known that the County of Billings conducted a very thorough and comprehensive review of the Davis Refinery before granting the rezoning and conditional use permits.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) has siting jurisdiction over energy projects that are designed for or capable of processing 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) or more of crude oil. The initial phase of the Davis Refinery will be a 27,500-bpd hydro-skimming refinery, which does not fall within the jurisdiction of the PSC. Should Meridian finalize plans to expand the Davis Refinery to a throughput capacity that is equal to or greater than 50,000 bpd, then Meridian will file a Siting Application with the PSC for that expansion. Meridian has no intention of doing so unless and until it makes definitive plans to expand the Refinery such that it falls within PSC jurisdiction.

About Meridian Energy Group, Inc.
The Mission of Meridian Energy Group, Inc. is to provide long-term shareholder value through the development and operation of the cleanest, most efficient and environmentally-compliant crude oil refineries in the world, benefiting the communities and their investors. Established in 2013, Meridian is led by industry experts with a combined 500 years of world-class expertise in energy & hydrocarbon processing, project development, finance, and large capital project management. Meridian Energy Group, Inc.’s current headquarters is in Belfield, ND.

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