Continental Refining Company, formerly Somerset Refinery, will NOT resume production and the landmark 94-acre site off Monticello Street will be “repurposed,” probably into business or commercial properties, according to Demetrios Haseotes, owner of the iconic refinery.
“We examined the budget … financially we could not go forward and meet the budget, revealed Haseotes. He said earlier he has spent nearly $40 million since he bought the refinery in December 2011.
“I will work with the mayor (Alan Keck), the city and SPEDA (Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority) in preparing a re-development plan for the property,” noted Haseotes. He said considerable environmental work will be needed at the site.
“Developing businesses … that’s what I do,” said Haseotes, owner of Hemisphere Limited LLC, nerve center for 11 businesses he owns and are headquartered in the vacated First and Farmers National Bank building in Downtown Somerset, Since purchasing the refinery, Haseotes has made his home in Somerset
The refinery, one of only two in Kentucky, had its beginning back in the 1930s and has been a stable employer in Somerset for more than three quarters of a century.
Somerset Refinery found itself in deep financial trouble during the early 2000s and was forced to shut down. Haseotes, owner and past director of the Cumberland Group of Companies, bought the refinery in December 2011 and it resumed production in January 2013.
About a year and a half ago, the refinery shut down again for an assessment period which reportedly would lead to a $75 million modernization. Refining crude oil is a complex business. Bad relations with area oil producers created before Haseotes tried to revive the refinery may have done irreparable damage.
In his statement to the Commonwealth Journal, Haseotes did not say how many employees are still at the refinery site, but a month or so ago he said five workers were at the plant.