clears another hurdle
BY JOYCE LOBECK, SUN STAFF WRITER
March 27, 2007
Fuels can check off another item on its "to-do" list.
has received title to the property where it plans to build an oil
refinery in eastern Yuma County.
Fuels has purchased 1,460 acres from the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation
and Drainage District for a total of $14,681,100, the Yuma County
Assessor's Office confirmed Tuesday.
The sale closely
followed a transfer of the land Monday from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
The land transfer
was authorized in the Wellton-Mohawk Title Transfer Act, passed
by Congress on June 20, 2000, and signed into law by President Bill
The intent of
the act was to transfer ownership to WMIDD of the land and facilities
for the Gila Project, the irrigation system BOR built. Since completion
in 1952, WMIDD has operated the irrigation system and repaid BOR
for the development cost.
The act also
authorized WMIDD to purchase additional acreage to control development
and protect agriculture served by the district.
A portion of
that land later was selected for the refinery site, and WMIDD agreed
to sell it to Arizona Clean Fuels at the price the district had
to pay for it.
I had predicted we would get the deed in the first quarter,"
said Charles Slocum, WMIDD manager. "We did it with just four
days to spare."
The land acquired
by Arizona Clean Fuels for the refinery is bounded by an irrigation
canal to the north, Interstate 8 to the south, Avenue 46E to the
east and approximately Avenue 44E to the west.
The land transfer
"is yet another accomplishment of many," said Ian Calkins,
spokesman for Arizona Clean Fuels. "There are a number of stages
to the development. We can put this step behind us."
refinery would be situated in about the middle of the property at
approximately Avenue 45E, Calkins said. The company sought extra
property for a variety of potential future uses, such as housing
for construction workers, ancillary industries and businesses and
possible refinery expansion, he explained.
While the land
transfer is a major step, the company has been working on several
others as well, Calkins said. As achievements to date, he pointed
to the company receiving its air quality permit from the Arizona
Department of Environmental Quality, getting the approval from the
Mexican secretary of energy for pipeline access across Mexico and
reaching a memorandum of understanding with WestPac Pipeline to
develop the crude oil pipeline.
also is in the final stages of initiating a contract with an equity
partner to help provide financing for the estimated $3.5 billion
refinery. And it is in advanced negotiations with Canada to supply
crude oil, as well as contractors to build the refinery.
The plan is
to ship the crude oil from Canada to Punta Colonet on the west coast
of Mexico in Baja California, then transport it by pipeline to the
refinery, Calkins explained.
steps are obtaining contracts for buyers of the fuel the plant would
produce, continuing to work on the plant's design and engineering,
completing the permitting process for the pipeline both in Mexico
and in Yuma County and going through the Yuma County zoning and
building permit process.
of the project are moving forward in tandem," Calkins said.
"We knew going into the project that there were a lot of things
to achieve. We've tackled the things we could to keep the project
are finally falling into place," he said.
he remains hopeful construction will start on the refinery in early
optimistic. We still anticipate starting up operation by late 2011."
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