Irving, TX-based Worldwide Energy Consortium Inc. (WEC) is set to begin the initial engineering/permitting phase for a new refinery to be located near Gardendale in La Salle County, TX.

The site was chosen to take advantage of the oil production from the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.

This is the first of several planned operations by WEC in the region. Working with local officials, producers, land owners, and state agencies, WEC has identified multiple production sites that will allow it to take advantage of the abundant resources being developed in the area.

The Whitetail Refinery project is to begin immediately, the company said, with operations expected by the fourth quarter of 2014.

“The rapid deployment of modern, cost-efficient refining operations directly into the new production regions will positively impact the producers, consumers and the investors in our projects,” said CEO Dave Martinelli.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there were 144 operable petroleum refineries in the United States as of Jan. 1, 2012. Of these, 10 were idle at the time data was compiled.

The “newest” refinery began operating in 2008 in Douglas, WY, EIA said. However, the newest significant (or sophisticated) refinery began operating in 1977 in Garyville, LA. Capacity has also been added to existing refineries through upgrades or new construction.