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Principal Technology CEO: ND refineries perfect for modular tech

By Principal Technologies Inc. | December 11, 2013

Principal Technology Inc., a provider of total system solutions for natural gas, refining, chemical, process and manufacturing facilities, is supplying the small capacity sulfur recovery unit (SRU) and tail gas treating unit (TGTU) for Dakota Prairie Refining LLC refinery in southwestern North Dakota. Designed to address the specific needs of small capacity refineries, Principal Technology’s SRUs are based on a modular platform design that reduces installation time and enables the units to meet the tight construction deadlines imposed to complete the refinery by the end of 2014.

The $300 million Dakota Prairie Refinery will process 20,000 barrels per day of oil and produce 7,000 bpd of diesel fuel, specifically to meet the needs of North Dakota. The remaining petroleum will be shipped to other refineries for further processing. Because the topping plant is smaller than a full-scale refinery, Principal Technology’s small-capacity SRUs were the ideal choice for the facility.

“Fabricating modular components in a controlled environment in an off-site production shop assures quality control and testing during the manufacturing phase,” said Matthew S. Hodson, P.E., President and CEO of Principal Technology. “We will manufacture the SRUs while the refinery is under construction and ship the finished units to the facility for installation, which involves simply connecting the modules to the balance of plant services, commissioning and final testing, thus reducing on-site installation time by as much as 75 percent. That’s important when a refinery is being built on a 20 month construction timeline.”

Principal Technology’s small capacity SRUs and TGTUs apply industry best practices, combined with exclusive features to meet the customer’s exact sulfur recovery requirements. PTI units include superior application and utilization of analyzers, instrumentation and control schemes to enhance reliability and plant operations.

The Dakota Prairie Refinery project is a joint venture between energy company MDU Resources, based in Bismarck, N.D., and Calumet Specialty Products, an Indianapolis-based refining company. Principal Technology is working with Ventech Engineers North America LLC of Houston, the primary equipment and technology provider on the project, to supply the SRUs. Despite producing thousands of barrels of oil each day, North Dakota has only one refinery and must import more than half of its diesel. The Dakota Prairie Refinery, one of three proposed refineries and the first to begin construction, will be an important local supplier of fuel to support the North Dakota economy.

“Smaller refining operations like the Dakota Prairie Refinery play an important role in meeting regional fuel demands and are increasing in number,” said Hodson. “Our flexible, modular equipment designs address the specific issues of small capacity sulfur recovery while providing the same results as larger systems. These units are a perfect match for refiners like Dakota Prairie Refining, LLC.”