Construction on refinery project by Woodlands-based Raven Petroleum slated to begin this spring

Construction on the first large refinery in the U.S. in the past four decades, built by The Woodlands-based company Raven Petroleum, is slated to commence this spring.

Construction on the first large refinery in the U.S. in the past four decades, built by The Woodlands-based company Raven Petroleum, is slated to commence this spring.

Construction on the first large refinery in the U.S. in the past four decades, built by The Woodlands-based company Raven Petroleum, is slated to commence this spring, officials said.

Raven Petroleum, a subsidiary of Raven Resources Group, announced its newest endeavor in late 2016 to build a $500 million, 50,000-barrel-a-day petroleum refinery, located in South Texas just east of Laredo.

The Woodlands resident Christopher Moore is the managing director and sole founder of Raven Petroleum, which was established in 2012.

“It’s a demand-driven project because with the constrained markets in Mexico and The Caribbean, the new refinery will service those markets and pick up the demand for refined fuels,” Moore said. “[The location of the refinery] is logistically-driven because we’ll be in proximity of our end-user.”

On the cusp of completing the engineering design phase of the project, Moore said construction is expected to begin in the next two to three months and should be completed by late 2018, if the 20-month construction job stays on schedule.

The refinery has the potential to create 350 permanent jobs and 1,800 temporary construction jobs. Moore said the company will also be adding 25 new positions based in The Woodlands, which will include senior management roles.

“It’s exciting because we have found a way to overcome the barriers to enter into the refining industry,” Moore said. “Prior to our breakthrough model, there was quite a monumental capital cost to enable companies to compete in the refining industry.”

With the goal of creating "sustainable refining with clean technology" in mind, a 20-megawatt geothermal plant will also be constructed on the site, allowing the refinery to be powered by renewable energy, creating near net zero emission, Moore said.

“I think we have found a way to partner with efficient renewable energy, producing an environmentally friendly industry footprint and at the same time, accomplishing our economic goals,” Moore said. “I think it is very groundbreaking and it shows that it’s not always an obstacle to maintain a green footprint because it can also be very beneficial economically.”

The company is in the middle of negotiations to office out of space located on Lake Woodlands, near the intersection of Research Forest Drive and Lakeside Boulevard.

Moore said in addition to the new refinery, the company already has plans in the works for future projects.

“We have three additional projects in the pipeline and we’ll build out for those as well, but at this time, I’m not at liberty to discuss the details on those,” he said. “I think this will open up for additional refining capacity, which is important to meet the growing demand for refined fuels domestically and internationally. It will give us the ability to refine and manufacture more of our own domestic crude, while maintaining reasonable gas and diesel prices.”
By Hannah Zedaker

Editor, Spring/Klein & Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood

Hannah joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor of the Spring/Klein edition and later became the editor of both the Spring/Klein and Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood editions in June 2021. Hannah covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Hannah served as associate editor of The Houstonian, interned with Community Impact Newspaper and spent time writing for the Sam Houston State University College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and The Huntsville Item.