by Bill Mardis
The employment total at Continental Refining Company (CRC) continues to rise and a new operations manager is on board.
“We have 43 employees now,” said Missy Shorey, spokesperson for CRC, formerly Somerset Refinery. “And, we’re really excited,” she continued. “Paul Harless, our new operations manager, started working today (Thursday).”
CRC projections were the refinery at full production would employ between 40 and 45 workers and create as many as 200 ancillary jobs. About 66 employees reportedly were on board when the refinery closed more than three years ago.
Somerset Refinery was a landmark business and one of this community’s most stable employers since the 1930s. It shut down in February 2010 due to financial difficulties and inability to purchase sufficient amounts of crude oil from regional producers who claimed they were not paid by previous owners of the refinery.
Continental Refining Company purchased the refinery in December 2011. It has secured a contract with Sonoco Partners Marketing and Terminals LP that will assure a consistent supply of crude oil, according to Demetrios Haseotes, president and CEO of CRC.
An official local announcement was made February 3 that crude oil was again being refined at the Monticello Street location. The plant’s revival was announced nationally February 4. The last production report in mid-July indicated 1,500 barrels of crude oil were being refined each day. Refining capacity is 5,500 barrels a day and Shorey said CRC will move toward full production as “bottlenecks” are moved out of the way.
Continental Refining, a Somerset-based company, is one of only two crude oil refineries in Kentucky and is among 150 crude oil refineries in the United States. The refinery is located on 93 acres off Monticello Street.
Continental Refining aims to become a regional refining leader to small and medium crude oil producers in Kentucky and Tennessee, according to a CRC statement.