R. C. Snyder begins construction of the refinery. The refinery along with the pipeline system also owned by Snyder became known as South Kentucky Pipeline Co., Inc. He would own the company until 1946 when he sold to Samuel Jarvis, an Illinois-based crude oil producer.


The company’s employees purchased the refinery from the Jarvis family. The company became known as Somerset Oil. It was employee-owned and operated between 1963 and 1999. Some of the better-known officials of the employee group included Cy Waddle, W.T. Walker, and Bill Balance.


Roy Shirley and Francis (Frank) Lynch acquired all the Somerset Group’s stock. Later that year James Stethem joined the Somerset Group as secretary and general counsel and purchased 20 percent of the company’s capital stock. Lynch served as president of the Somerset Group while Shirley was CEO.

1999 – 2006

Refinery continued operations, but aging equipment threatened consistent production. Production interruptions and changing regulatory demands resulted in financial trouble during the mid 2000’s.


Eastern Kentucky businessman William Spears acquired the refinery from Lynch and Shirley under the umbrella of the Sonoma Capital corporation. Spears immediately commenced layoffs and filed for bankruptcy protection.


The courts ordered the refinery to be sold at auction. That auction caught the eye of international entrepreneur Michael Grunberg, principal of New York City’s Grunberg Realty who purchased the refinery for $2.2 million. Grunberg began operating the refinery through Somerset Energy Refining (SER), LLC.

2008 – 2010

SER spent the next two years and another $20 million modernizing the Monticello Street plant to meet current EPA standards. In October 2009 the refinery enjoyed its first profitable month since being rescued from bankruptcy, and a month later employment peaked at 66 persons.


After an unsuccessful attempt to win back local crude producers, SER is unable to procure a steady crude supply. Somerset Energy Refining idles operations and lists the refinery for sale.


Demetrios Haseotes, an entrepreneur, purchases the refinery. He begins operations under Continental Refining Company (CRC), LLC. Over the next few years, CRC invests millions into plant upgrades and modernization. Reliable crude contracts are established with Sunoco and rapport is started with local crude producers. In 2013, refinery production resumes at partial capacity.

2013 – 2018

Refinery production continues to increase. CRC reclaims nearly all local crude producers lost by previous administrations and becomes the regional source for quality petroleum products. Investments to modernize the equipment continue.  In 2018, the refinery is idled to undergo economic and engineering studies of the plant and business model.


Studies reveal excellent regional opportunity in the Biofuels market with CRC being located near an abundance of local soybeans. CRC explores transitioning its operations to focus on a Soybean Crushing and Bio Diesel facility.


If the project moves forward, proposed construction will begin on a Soybean Crushing and Bio Diesel Facility. The facility would be capable of processing 3 Million Bushels of soybeans and producing 5 Million Gallons of B100 annually.