The owner of Continental Refinery said this week production "might" resume in about 24 months. The refinery stopped production about a year and a half ago and announced a $75 million modernization.

Asked if proper terminology for resumption of production in two years is "will resume" or "might resume," Demetrios Haseotes said "might."

Haseotes revealed recently and again this week possibility of future production at the former Somerset Refinery has improved " ... from 50-50 to above 50-50. Reached by telephone Thursday, Haseotes said the situation is the same. He said 17 people are still working at the plant.

Chris Girdler, president and CEO of SPEDA (Somerset Pulaski Economic Development Authority) told the Commonwealth Journal the development authority is in continued conversations with Haseotes to assist in getting the iconic plant back online. Kris Gibson, manager of Continental Refinery, said recently it is "the intent of Continental Refinery to resume production." Millions have been spent at the refinery since it was purchased by Continental.

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 had 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 one of two refineries in Kentucky. Somerset Refinery had its beginning back in the 1930s and has been a stable employer in Somerset for more than three quarters of a century.

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