Calumet Progressing on Great Falls, Montana Renewable Diesel Project

Oleochem Analytics — Calumet Specialty Products Partners, an independent producer of hydrocarbon products headquartered in Indiana, is seeing “excellent progress” at its hydrocracker conversion project to produce renewable diesel in Great Falls, Montana, the company said in its second-quarter earnings call.

Since their last update in June, the company reported that their estimates of the project cost and timing are unchanged.

First renewable production is expected after the plant-wide turnaround in April 2022, said Steve Mawer, Calumet CEO, during the earnings call.

The company has started signing the initial supply agreements for start-up focusing on soybean oil (SBO) and tallow. However, Calumet said they plan to utilize varied feedstocks from the region.

“Millions of acres in Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan either are or can produce oilseed crops,” said Mawer. “And our location within this temperate oil seat belt will make us one of the most feedstock advantaged renewable producers in North America.”

Mawer said the company’s goal is to be able to run any feedstock by the end of 2022 because of the pre-treater and their hydrocracker metallurgy.

The company supports the comprehensive, bipartisan U.S. Senate effort to have EPA approve the pending canola pathway for renewable diesel. “We see its inclusion as inevitable,” Mawer said.

Great Falls’ proximity to vast amounts of canola in the Northern Plains give it an advantage over its competitors, he said, which are farther away from the growth centers of this specific, high-volume, high-oil feedstock.

Additionally, the company said it has an opportunity to de-bottleneck their oversized hydrocracker, and further expand the renewable diesel facility to over 18,000 barrels a day (bbls/day) of throughput capacity for little capital cost.

“Many of you will recall that the hydrocracker was an off-the-shelf purchase and was oversized from day one, and we plan to take advantage of that,” Mawer said. “You can think about this is another exciting growth phase and opportunity for our renewable diesel business.”

The original idea for the pretreatment plant was to increase the feed rate to 14,000 bbls/day up from the original 10,000-12,000 bbls/day, as the company said last June.

In May, during their first-quarter earnings call, the company laid out its three-phase strategy for renewable diesel production, starting with the hydrocracker catalyst change in April of 2022 during a planned refinery-wide turnaround, converting tankage and expanding dewatering capabilities in order to be capable of processing nearly 77 million gal/year of renewable diesel by the end of 1H 2022.

The second phase in the strategy is constructing a renewable hydrogen plant to unleash more capacity, while phase three involves adding a feedstock pretreatment unit.

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