$5.5 billion refinery investment coming to Cushing

CUSHING, Okla. — Southern Rock Energy Partners, LLC selected Cushing as the site for its next-generation crude oil refinery.

The project is a $5.56 billion investment into the “pipeline capital of the world”, also bringing in more than 423 full-time jobs.

The total economic impact for the first decade of operations of the facility to the Cushing area and the state of Oklahoma is estimated to be more than $18 billion.

Bruce Johnson is the director of the Cushing Economic Development Foundation.

“[They] selected Cushing, Oklahoma to be that location for the first refinery to be built in the United States in the last 40 years,” he said. “We’re looking to supply energy not only to our area but to the rest of United States for decades, if not centuries, to come just like we have in the century past.”

Johnson said just in the construction alone, 1,250 jobs will be available over the next two to three years.

“Since the discovery of the Cushing-Drumright Oil Field in the early 1900s, Cushing has been at the epicenter of North America’s energy markets. More than 50 refineries have called Cushing home over our history, and we are looking forward to another successful energy-supplying partnership based upon modern technological advancements,” stated Chairman Ricky Lofton, Cushing City Commission.

Cushing has about 100 million barrels of storage in the tank farms surrounding the community.

The refinery complex will produce about 91.25 million barrels or 3.8 billion gallons annually of fuels including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from crudes sourced domestically.

The project will take 36 months to build with work starting in 2024. Commercial operations are expected to start in 2027.

Some Cushing locals have shared their excitement for the refinery.

George Hatfield lives in Cushing and said it’s good news for the town.

“It’d be good for the economy, I believe,” he said. “Why not us? We got all the oil and all we need do is just refine it and send it to places that need the refined oil.”

Another local, Billy Cooper, said he was happy to hear about the plans.

“For all the people around here, [it would] bring so much business into town, for sure, and jobs like … high-paying jobs long term,” he said.

There was a question regarding the environmental impact this may cause.

Nicholas Hayman is the state geologist for Oklahoma. He said Oklahoma is working hard on its carbon footprint.

“When I hear about a big refinery, my first thought is not earthquakes, it’s the carbon footprint, but then I also know that we’re working on ways to deal with that,” Hayman said.

Hayman said there is a lot of time spent in trying to manage the impact these large businesses have on the planet.

“And that’s where we’re really spending a lot of time both in the state university world and businesses,” he said. “Some of the largest investors are the corporations. To understand how to do this, and it’s a very serious challenge, but Oklahoma can very much play a role in that.”

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