Continental Refining Company (CRC) begins 2017 with an employment total more than double the number of workers at the former Somerset Refinery when financial problems in 2010 forced the landmark company to shut down for nearly three years.
Demetrios Haseotes, an 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 and purchased the troubled Somerset Refinery in December 2011. Refining operations resumed in January 2013.
”As of today (Wednesday), the current employee count is 58 jobs at Continental Refining Company and 6 jobs at the transport company (CTS),” e-mailed Missy Shorey, who as president and CEO of Shorey Public Relations, Dallas, is spokesperson for CRC.
CRC’s workforce is still growing. “(We are) currently looking for an E&I Technician (Electrical & Instrumentation Technician),” Shorey revealed. The current 64 employees at CRC and CTS are more than twice as many as the 30 people working when Somerset Refinery shut down. The former Somerset Refinery had been a stable employer for more than 80 years and at one time had 150 workers on its payroll.
“CRC has its own fleet of transport tankers currently hauling local crude oil, delivering finished petroleum products and picking up transmix in local, regional and national markets,” said Shorey. Transmix is a type of fuel produced when different fuels mix in the fuel distribution system.
Increased production at CRC is being supported by additional feedstock arriving via Somerset Rail Park, a 72-car public railroad facility in Ferguson. Also, Ohio River barge operations have been expanded to move product to the refinery.
CRC is currently bringing in components for gasoline pool blending and hopes to (obtain) additional blending components. Continental Refining Company plans to (utilize) up to 10 railcars per week for its transportation purposes, Shorey said recently.
“By using intermodal transportation (at Somerset Rail Park), we will not only make receipt of crude oil to our refinery and delivery of petroleum products to our customers more efficient, we will also reduce overall inbound and outbound shipping costs,” said Haseotes, adding: “We now have the added advantage in our region of shipping products farther and reducing costs, while utilizing a new resource.”
“We (at CRC) are eager to use local crude oil production,” Shorey emphasized. She said most of inherited problems local producers had with previous management have been solved. The refinery does not make public current production figures, but it has a capacity to refine more than 5,000 barrels a day.
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.