Winkler County expects more than 100 new jobs along with refinery
WINKLER COUNTY — Earlier this week, Meridian Energy Group announced its plans to build a refinery in Winkler County.
“We’re just really happy that we can finally get this project launched,” CEO Bill Prentice said. “I’ve had my eyes on that part of the state for a long time – just eager to get started.”
The crude refinery in Winkler County will be the second full conversion project the start-up company is working on. Meridian Energy’s first site in the Bakken Oil Fields in Billings, North Dakota is currently under construction.
“We picked the Bakken because that crude is probably the easiest to process of all U.S. crude oils,” Prentice said. “The Permian isn’t that much different, and quite frankly there’s a lot more of it than there is up in the Bakkens. So, we can keep busy.”
When we asked Prentice if the refinery will help lower gas prices in the region, he said something all West Texans would be excited to hear. “I think you’re going to see both diesel and gasoline going down depreciatively,” Prentice said.
He added that advanced technology and a focus on local/regional distribution could help create the downward trend. Although, Winkler County leaders said they are excited to be home to Meridian Energy’s new development for other reasons. Commissioner Hope Williams told us they expect 100-200 more high-quality jobs to be brought to their community because of the project. Prentice said the company is eager to get work going in Winkler County and hopes to have its first refinery up and running in the Permian Basin by 2022.