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O’Leary Ventures Chairman Wants to Build a $14 Billion Dollar Refinery in the United States

Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian businessman and also a judge on the “Shark Tank” television series, recently stated his intentions to build a $14 billion dollar refinery in the United States.  There has not been a significantly sized greenfield refinery built in the United States for over 40 years.

Mr. O’Leary stated that “Unfortunately, no matter how much you think we're getting off hydrocarbons, it's not going to happen for 50 years,”  and in regards to renewable energy options, they are “not going to work.” Mr. O’Leary added that he intends to support the energy independence of the United States.

Due to this stance, Mr. O’Leary announced in April 2023 that he fully intends to construct a new refinery somewhere in the United States. He added that "It's going to cost about $14 billion," and that "I'm going to syndicate that debt and that equity. I'm going to find a state that wants to work with me. I'm going to get a permit and we're going to do the right thing for America. We have to have more refineries."

Refineries in the United States have been running at high utilization rates to keep up with demand, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) projected last October that it anticipates fossil fuel consumption will plateau within the next decade. The IEA projects that fossil fuels will make up 60% of the global energy mix by 2050, which would be down from about 80% currently.  With the focus on renewable energy growth and in difficulties for getting permits on traditional refineries, many companies have been reluctant to spend capital on expensive projects with long development timing. Mr. O’Leary’s belief is that “"At the end of the day, we can make our own energy here very clean. We haven't built a refinery in America in decades because we can't permit it.”

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