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Calumet jumps into $300 million refinery joint venture

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Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP plans to build a $300 million diesel refinery in North Dakota as part of a joint venture with energy company MDU Resources Group Inc., the firms announced after markets closed Thursday.

Indianapolis-based Calumet will contribute $75 million to the project and receive half the profit from the operation, which is slated to open in late 2014 in Dickinson, N.D.

MDU, which will run its share of the plant through subsidiary WBI Energy Inc., will put $150 million into the refinery.

The remaining $75 million will come from a loan to the joint venture, which will operate as the Dakota Prairie Refining LLC.

Calumet and MDU estimate the refinery will employ 100 people and process 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

MDU will provide some of the crude, as well as the natural gas and electricity utilities. Calumet will run the operations, procure additional crude oil and market the products.

The joint venture stacks onto more than $1 billion in acquisitions by Calumet in a little more than a year.

The company had been pulling the bulk of its revenue from its specialty products, such as lubricants solvents and waxes.

But it began a spree of acquisitions—mostly refineries—in October 2011 that has since balanced its sales with gasoline, diesel and fuels in addition to its specialty products.

Most recently, Calumet finalized the $115 million purchase of a refinery in San Antonio, Texas. The company is also assessing the feasibility of building a shipping dock on Lake Superior near one of its refineries.

Calumet, which reports its fourth quarter and year-end earnings on Feb. 13, has seen its profit explode this year thanks to the acquisitions.

The company reported $42.4 million in earnings in its third quarter, up 116 percent from a year earlier.

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