The existing air permit required Hyperion Energy to hold the groundbreaking ceremony to start building the 400,000 barrels per day refinery by 15 March 2013.

After much contemplation and discussion with the company officials, Hyperion has announced its plans to request for a new air permit rather than renewing the existing one.

The company had an option to request for an extension of 18 months for the construction deadline.

Hyperion Energy vice president Preston Phillips said, "While there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, the state officials expressed a clear preference that we come in with a new permit."

The state Board of Minerals and Environment originally issued an air quality permit in August 2009, but the permit was challenged by the Sierra Club and local groups stating the refinery would cause oil pollution.

The refinery will process heavy oil sands crude from Canada to produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and would use the most advanced, commercially feasible emissions control technology.