A $500 million refinery will be coming to Duval County. The construction project is expected to create more than 1,500 temporary jobs and 300 permanent positions. This is big news considering no oil refinery has been built in the U.S. since the 1970s.
"This will be a very modern refinery. The processing will be with the latest technology," said Duval County Judge Ricardo Carrillo .
Raven Petroleum will give Duval County a big boost in its struggling economy.
"If you look at our unemployment rate in Duval County, we are probably the highest in the Coastal Bend Area," said Carrillo. The latest figures from Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend show a 10.7 percent unemployment rate in the county.
Why was Duval County chosen? The railroad system that goes right through the county makes it easy to transport the product.
"Most of the companies were looking for a place located along the railroad that runs from Corpus to Laredo," said Carrillo.
This refinery's sole purpose is to provide diesel fuel, gasoline and other products to Mexico. In 2013, Mexico amended the Mexican constitution and opened the oil and gas industries to private investment.
"The demand is going up and their supply is going down. It's reverse than here in the U.S. ," said Carrillo.
Even though this will be a smaller refinery and will produce about 500,000 barrels per day, they will have room for expansion.
County leaders hope to break ground by the first of 2017. They also plan to host a job fair some time in December.