Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


February 5, 2013

'Other refinery'

mall operation in Somerset has been revived once again

ASHLAND — Kentucky’s “other refinery” is back in operation. Here’s hoping it continues to refine oil products because there is a need for the United States to increase its refining capacity.

 Continental Refining Co. quietly began receiving crude oil and operating the small refinery in Somerset about four months ago, but company officials waited until Sunday to formally announce the plant is back in operation after being idle for three years. Owner Demetrios Haseotes told The Commonwealth Journal in Somerset the refinery is operating at about 35 percent to 40 percent capacity right now. Company officials expect the facility to operate at full capacity within six months.

This is not the first time the refinery has risen from the brink of extinction. The then-idle Somerset Refinery, which has a refinery capacity of 5,500 barrels a day and dates to the 1930s, declared bankruptcy in 2006, and in 2008 Michael Grunberg bought the ailing refinery for $2.2 million and reopened it in July 2009 as Somerset Energy. At the time, it had five employed, many of them former Somerset Refinery workers.

When the small refinery reopened in 2009, Grunberg and others boldly predicted not only would the revived operation be successful, but higher crude oil prices would encourage drilling for new oil wells along the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Oil from that region was the reason why the refinery was first built in Somerset. Owners of the refinery predicted it again would refine crude oil from the region,.

But things did not go as hoped. The reopened refinery soon ran into a series of financial problems and the revival of the oil drilling business along Kentucky’s border with Tennessee never materialized. The refinery closed in February 2010 after just seven months of operation.

Continental Refining purchased the refinery a little more than a year ago. The company has secured a contract with Sonoco Partners Marketing and Terminals to purchase oil products from the refinery. That contract greatly increases the odds of the reopened refinery being profitable.

 Marathon Petroleum operates the state’s only other refinery, but no one would confuse the small refinery in Somerset with the large refinery near Catlettsburg, which has a refining capacity of 233,000 barrels per day. Marathon’s refinery near the U.S. 23 exit on Interstate 64 provides some of the most stable industrial jobs in this region.

While the Somerset refinery’s capacity is just a tiny fraction of that of the Catlettsburg refinery, we cheer the reopening of the small refinery and hope the earlier predictions of it being a market that revives oil drilling in the region are finally realized. That not only would provide more jobs for the area but also help reduce — albeit slightly —  U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Text Only
  • Positive trend

    For those adults who have a low opinion of American teenagers, Uncle Sam’s latest study of worrisome behavior among teens provides some good news: Teens are smoking less, drinking less and fighting less. Most forms of drug use, weapons use and risky sex also are declining — and have been since 1991, the year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first started surveying teens about  their behavior.

    July 24, 2014

  • Research's value

    In pushing for a higher education reform bill in the late 1990s, former Gov. Paul Patton set an ambitious goal of having the University of Kentucky become a Top 20 research university by 2020. UK has yet to accomplish that goal, but UK and the University of Louisville both have made great advances in research in recent years.

    July 24, 2014

  • Deadline is near

    People with Kentucky driver’s licenses may soon be required to show a passport or some other accepted form of federal identification to enter “restricted” or “semi-restricted” areas of federal facilities, including federal courthouses, military bases, federal prisons and a wide range of other federal offices.

    July 23, 2014

  • Issue is safety

    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control has recommended softball  “players at first base, third base and pitcher utilize the permissive requirement in the playing rules and wear face/head protection.”

    July 23, 2014

  • More difficult

    In a state like Kentucky with the number of adults who have not graduated from high school is much higher than the national average, undereducated adults have been encouraged to earn high-school equivalency degrees by studying for, taking and passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.

    May 22, 2014

  • Primary election sends messages

    The voters — or at least the minority who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday — have spoken, with Boyd County voters sending mixed messages in the county-wide races that gathered the most attention.

    May 21, 2014

  • Click it or Ticket

    "Click it or Ticket” is a phrase used so often in recent years most of us hardly give it a thought.

    May 21, 2014

  • Top trooper

    Thumbs up to Trooper First Class Shane Goodall of Flatwoods for being named 2013 Trooper of the Year for Kentucky.

    May 20, 2014

  • 05/18/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State

    Local news

    May 18, 2014

  • 0518greene.jpeg Greene-Lounsberry

    John and Eva Greene of Greenup are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Stacey Nicole Greene, to Jonathan Wesley Lounsberry.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo