FORBES | Many years have passed since the last greenfield refinery was built in the continental United States. It has been 43 years, in fact, since Marathon Petroleum opened its spanking-new 200,000 barrel of oil per day (bopd) refinery in Garyville, Louisiana in 1977.
Since that time, growing environmental restrictions have made obtaining permits for new refining operations from state and federal government agencies increasingly difficult and costly. The inevitable raft of litigation that follows the issuance of any permits also increases the costs and adds to time delays. Many such projects have tried to get off the ground during those intervening 43 years, but the planners of them have all ended up losing what has become a strategic war of attrition.
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