Thursday, January 29, 2009

Refinery Shutting Down

From the Central Valley Business Times:

Big West shutting down Bakersfield refinery
by Gaylen Young, bakersfieldbusinessnews.comBAKERSFIELD

January 29, 2009 10:03am
• Closure is for indefinite time period
• Bankruptcy, supplies are at root of problem In a move that's sure to bring layoffs and probably raise the price of gasoline, Big West refinery says it will stop refining oil at its Rosedale Plant indefinitely.
Flying J, the parent company of the Big West Refinery in Bakersfield, filed for bankruptcy protection just before Christmas.
The Big West refinery at that time began to shut down, calling it an annual maintenance schedule, forcing many, like Fleet Card Fuels of Bakersfield, which normally gets much of its gasoline for shipment to its member stations from Big West, to have to drive trucks to Los Angeles and back to accomplish their deliveries.
Now, Big West says it is suspending gasoline production indefinitely.
“For now, we will be winding down refining operations at the facility as we continue to explore opportunities,” Big West Executive Vice President Fred Greener says in a news release.
“We hope that this suspension will be short-lived, and we are working very hard to find a solution that will allow resumption of operations,” the statement continues. “However, at this time, we cannot predict when that might occur.”
During the course of the shutdown, there were reports that Shell Oil Company, which previously owned the refinery, purposely denied Big West oil supplies, adding to its problems. Shell denied any wrongdoing, but state Attorney General Jerry Brown and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer both have been conducting an investigation into Shell's dealings with the refinery.
There are 150 people who work at the refinery who could be impacted by its shutdown.
This week's notice may be the first step in a union requirement that demands workers be given six months notice of any layoffs.

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