Proposed Refinery Would Create Six Figure Salary Jobs - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Proposed Refinery Would Create Six Figure Salary Jobs

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BILLINGS, Mont. - A new oil refinery could begin construction as early as spring 2015.

Quantum Energy proposed its plans for a 20,000 barrel-a-day refinery in the Billings area to Yellowstone County Commissioners Tuesday morning.

The proposed project, which would cost $500 million, received an overwhelmingly positive response from commissioners.

During the brief proposal, Quantum CEO Andrew Kacic said the construction of the refinery would create 500-600 construction jobs, and once the refinery opens, there would be 100-150 full-time jobs paying a base salary of at least $100,000 per year.

Kacic said Billings is a great fit for another refinery because of its location and energy industry experience.

"It's an infrastructure that would attract families that would want to relocate to the Billings area, and keep those that are here in Billings," he said.

Commissioner Bill Kennedy said the increase in jobs, especially such high paying jobs, would be great for the community.

"I was very interested in five to six hundred construction jobs, very interested in the one hundred full-time jobs," he said. "I'm looking for jobs, local, and to put people to work."

Quantum Energy plans on building five total refineries between Montana and North Dakota in the next few years. Kacic says smaller refineries are more desirable than one large plant, because a refinery producing 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day falls under state Environmental Protection Agency regulations, so the federal EPA is not involved.

Quantum says its refineries will be clean-energy, state-of-the-art, and according to its website, "Quantum Energy plans to build a network of  "21st Century Energy Centers" near rail trainload facilities that would strip natural gas liquids, refine crude oil for locally produced diesel, and recapture carbon dioxide."

Big Sky Economic Development Executive Director Steve Arveschoug said the refinery would not only provide jobs, but provide more dollars spent in the area.

"We're growing in our healthcare industry," he said. "We're growing in our service sector, our financial and agriculture sectors -- it seems that the community is working on all cylinders in terms of our economy and (the proposed refinery) is just an example."
Quantum considers its refineries to be clean energy because of their ability to recapture carbon dioxide. Yet, Billings resident Deb Fischer is concerned about potential problems stemming from more emissions.

"I'd sure like to see us not fast-track it," she said. "Take a look at the environmental consequences, take a look at the safety issue -- which is huge in Billings -- because the train tracks go right through town."

Quantum is currently searching for property, and would need nearly 100 acres to build the refinery.