Oil refinery in Winston County has same chance as me getting a gift from Santa Claus

While several media outlets ran articles about an oil refinery in Winston County and the feasibility of such, let’s logically examine this:

• The meeting mentioned in two other media outlet articles as public was not public. It was invitation only. • At present time, 10 oil refineries in the US are idle due to the lack of demand versus profit potential. Three of those are looking at restarting in 2013 but they are hoping for a demand that is most likely not going to come. • For the first time in 41 years the EPA approved a permit for a new oil refinery, which will be in North Dakota. North Dakota only has one refinery and is the second largest producer of crude oil in the United States. So, they need a second one according to a $500,000 feasibility study. How is the crude oil going to come to Winston County? Also, Mississippi already has 3 refineries, which are not operating at full capacity. • It took North Dakota 10 years to receive permits to build and EPA regulations have only gotten stricter. So a 2014 construction date? • The group doing this is not worried about making a profit yet without profit you can’t pay employees. I have never heard of a company that did not need to make a profit. Never.

All this makes me wonder: Is this a more elaborate Silverado Green Fuels?

Silverado Green Fuels came to Choctaw County Mississippi in 2006 and promised a biofuels plant and 60 jobs. They were going to turn coal in liquid fuel, which can be done, just not efficient enough to make money. They found investors from all over the country. They raised a substantial amount of money (my guess about $300,000 to $500,000). They then hired a consulting firm that was owned by the same person who owned Silverado Green Fuels. They paid the consulting firm all the investment money to do a study to see if the idea was feasible for Choctaw County. It was found not to be feasible and the consulting firm walked away with all the investment money.

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour even came down for the groundbreaking that is how good of a pitch Silverado Green Fuels had but it basically paid investment fees to its own consulting firm with all the investors’ funds on something that was not feasible in the first place.

An oil refinery for Winston County sounds way too good to be true and according to facts and figures it is. I am afraid this is the Silverado Green Fuels of Winston County except they are presenting something way over the top; whereas, at least Silverado Green Fuels presented something that sounded doable.

If you want to believe a Santa Claus with 5,000 jobs and billions of dollars is coming to Winston County, don’t be surprised when you just get a lump of coal in your stocking.

Editor’s note: Joseph McCain is the editor and publisher of the Winston County Journal and may be reached at 662-773-6241 or 662-803-5236.