The current idling and assessment phase at Continental Refining Company remains on schedule to be completed late this spring and at that time a determination will be made whether we move forward with the modernization phase, Missy Shorey, spokesperson for the former Somerset Refinery, said Tuesday.

Asked what happens if the refinery decides not to proceed with the modernization phase, Shorey responded: “It’s too early for that discussion. That will be discussed with you at that time. There are several options on the table.”

Shorey was reacting to questions from the Commonwealth Journal concerning the timeframe for completion of the transition and a projection as to when the refinery would resume production. The refinery stopped production in February last year and announced a $75 million modernization.

In an e-mail last October 11, Shorey said the current idling and assessment phase was estimated to be complete within two months. At that point, a trajectory for a capital improvement phase for improved safety, reliability and efficiency would be determined. That trajectory would determine length of the transition period and an estimate of the time the iconic plant would resume production.

Shorey said (in the October e-mail) plans for the second phase had expanded to a significant revamp of the plant which would include upgrading the entire facility. This evolved since the beginning of the assessment process that initially called for upgrading a significant number of the units; that the refinery would be brought up to today’s standards, she pointed out.

Demetrios Haseotes, owner and past director of the Cumberland Group of Companies, which include Framingham, Mass.-based Cumberland Farms and Gulf Oil LP, formed Somerset-based Continental Refining Company (CRC) in December 2011 and purchased financially troubled Somerset Refinery. Refining operations resumed in January 2013 after Somerset Refinery has been shut down for about three years

Continental Refining Company, located on a 93-acre site off Monticello Street, is one of only 150 refineries in the United States and only one of two refineries in Kentucky. CRC is the closest refinery for crude oil producers within a 170-miles radius. The other refinery in Kentucky is Catlettsburg Refining owned by Marathon Petroleum Corporation.

Source: Commonwealth-Journal