Judge Scott Johansen swears in the business chamber's newest members: Jared Anderson, Ryan Murray, Laurel Magnuson.
The Emery County Business chamber held their annual awards and installation banquet on March 19. Julie Jones, chamber president welcomed everyone to the dinner. She introduced Ryan Murray from the Small Business Development Center. He encouraged attendees to do some networking at the banquet and to learn something new about someone.
He said sometimes in small towns where everyone knows everyone, it's easy to think you know everything about a person or business. But, you don't there's always more to learn and new people to meet. "The point is to work some business while you're here and have some fun," said Murray.
Nanette Tanner introduced the guest speakers for the evening. Jeff Beicker is the CEO of Rock River Resources. He said they looked at the state of Utah and the resources here and the infrastructure and saw an opportunity to invest some money. The refinery will be built in three phases. The first phase is the terminal phase. There will be a small refinery and topping plant. The refinery will be designed around local crude. Four products will be made including diesel, jet fuel, ATV-similar to asphalt, but a little lighter.
Beicker said there is a good market here for jet fuel, In neighboring Colorado and in Utah.
Diesel will have to be treated and blended and it can be sold to gas stations.
Beicker said Utah is uniquely suited to wax crude, yellow or black wax. The crude unit separates the oil pieces from the wax. The wax part will go to the wax plant. Eighty percent of slack wax goes to the making of candles, food products and to coat boxes. The crude in Utah is well suited to these processes.
Beicker said they have purchased land just outside of Green River. They are currently working on cleaning up the land and preparing the site. It will take approximately 12 months for the terminal project to be completed. The refinery which will produce 10,000 barrels a day will take 16-18 months to complete. The capital outlay will be $100 million. During the construction phase there will be 100-150 jobs created and 35-40 permanent positions.
The wax plant will cost between $150-300 million and there's a lot of work and engineering that will accompany that project. In the beginning phases of the project the number of employees will be 25-35. As the project grows and develops it could employ as many as 115-130 people.
Beicker pointed out these are skilled labor jobs and will pay more than $50,000 per year. He said these are the types of jobs people will want for their children. He said they have studied the demographics in Utah of how far people travel to work. The commute time each day is between 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. "People are willing to go a long way for a good job. People want good schools and good services. We want to try to hire local people first. We will need skilled people. We are confident we will find a good workforce in Green River and the local communities," said Beicker.
He said his company is a good employer which leads to happy employees. They will be good corporate citizens. They want to get along with people and the community. Most stories you hear about oil companies are not true. Safety is Rock River's number one priority.
Beicker said everyone in the state of Utah has been so helpful to them with their project. Mike McCandless has been very helpful and everyone has been very welcoming. He said they are excited about the project.
During the construction phase they are working with Nielson Construction and they hope to hire as many local contractors as possible. They will need a skilled labor force including welders, pipe fitters and heavy equipment operators. During the operations phase they will need operators for the plant and maintenance personnel. He said you don't necessarily need refinery experience and they are willing to train. They will also bring in trained operators from other locations.
Beicker was asked why they chose the Green River location. He said the crude here is lighter and easier to handle and they were looking for a place where the boom was not so big. A place where they could find their niche. It's a place the major oil refineries wouldn't be interested in. He said they wanted to build a smaller facility and Emery County was a good place for that. The transportation is good here and the deposits are good. "It wouldn't catch the attention of a multi-national company, but it's a good opportunity for us," said Beicker.
He was asked how many years the refinery would operate. Beicker said 20 years plus. The technologies change so much and so fast as new ways are developed to refine. One county in Texas is their richest county now because new technology made the deposits there profitable to develop.
McCandless pointed out there are several businesses that will go along with the refinery including trucking and testing labs. There will be as many as 100 trucks each day dropping off crude to the facility.
Beicker said they are waiting for one permit and then the project can proceed. As completion gets closer they will start looking for workers about eight months into construction.