Husky investment proposal explained to chamber officials
By Tricia Bell, Multimedia Video Journalist - bio | email
LIMA, OHIO -
More than 160,000 barrels of crude oil can be processed at the Husky Lima Refinery each day. But, in an effort to stay competitive, officials are now exploring $300 million in modifications at the plant so employees can process what's known as heavy crude oil.
"Today, we're mainly a light oil refinery. This would allow us to supplement with some lower cost, heavier oil," said Roy Warnock, V.P. and general manager at the Lima Refinery.
Warnock says there are more than 100 refineries in the United States, and others are making similar upgrades. The proposal was outlined during a meeting at the Lima-Allen County Chamber of Commerce.
So far, a $50 million dollar investment has been approved for studies and design work. However, Ohio EPA hearings must be held, and final approval must come from Husky's board before the proposal becomes a plan.
"If it does continue to move forward it will have, certainly on the contract side during construction, significant numbers of people required. I think it's too soon to look at the ongoing operation and manpower needs," said Warnock.
The heavy crude has higher sulfur and acid contents. Plant air quality officials say upgrades at the site will keep the company within allowable emission standards.
"Modeling demonstrates that we don't have any significant impact on air quality in the region," said Gary Vonderembse, environmental manager, Husky Lima Refinery.
Construction could start as early as 2014 but, if approved, won't be complete for the next few years.
During the refining process, gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel are made. The Lima Refinery produces about 25 percent of the gasoline consumed in Ohio.