The owner of Continental Refinery said it will be June 2020 before a final decision is made as to whether former Somerset Refinery will resume production.
"A restart (of production) would take two years," Demetrios Haseotes told the Commonwealth Journal Wednesday. Haseotes, owner and past director of Cumberland Group of Companies, 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 had been shut down for about three years.
The refinery nearly two years ago again ceased production and announced a two-phase transition that would include a $75 million investment to reconfigure and upgrade every single unit of the plant. Haseotes said the company has spent in excess of $40 million since he bought the refinery.
"We want to do the right thing," said Haseotes. "If we restart (the refinery) we want it to be top of its class." He emphasized at this point no decision has been made as to the refinery's future.
Haseotes said engineering and budget processes are moving further along and the firm could be 80 percent toward a decision by mid-February. However, he repeated a final decision would not come before June.
Continental Refining Company, located on a 93-acre site off Monticello Street, is one of only 150 refineries in the United States and one of two refineries in Kentucky. Somerset Refinery had its beginning back in the 1930s and was a stable employer in Somerset for more than three quarters of a century.
At full capacity, the local refinery in a year can produce 23,000,000 gallons of gasoline, 6,000,000 gallons of kerosene, 21,000,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 30,000,000 gallons of heating oils.
Chris Girdler, president and CEO of SPEDA (Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority), in a recent e-mail to the Commonwealth Journal, said: "I am in continued conversations with Demetrios and commend his vision along with his determination. We are working through ways in which we can work together to see the refinery come back online.