ConocoPhillips refinery in Delco to close

September 27, 2011 3:46:44 PM PDT
The Conoco-Phillips oil plant in Trainer, Pa. announced production could cease in days.

Tuesday morning, the company said it is seeking a buyer for the 185,000 barrel-per-day facility.

" We are going to have it idled by the end of the week. We're going to continue to maintain the equipment while looking for a buyer in case they want to restart the refinery," said Rich Johnson.

For some in the area, Tuesday's sad news had a deja vu quality.

How did I take it? I'm not surprised," said Father Bernie Callahan.

The US refining industry is hemorrhaging red ink.

Among the pressures declining US demand for gasoline, tougher environmental regulations and now foreign competition gasoline refined offshore where labor is cheaper and environmental standards less strict.

"American workers losing their jobs are being replaced by imported, refined product not just crude oil," said Dennis Stephano of the United Steel Workers Union.

Sunoco which operates this massive plant next door in Marcus Hook announced weeks ago it is getting out the refinancing business completely.

If both plants close, this working class corner of Delaware County could lose 1000 jobs and millions in taxes.

"I would hope in my mind that [two companies] would be attractive to a single buyer. It would make a larger footprint and a larger foothold," said Mayor Jay Schiliro of Marcus Hook.

Local government leaders were already committed to trying to find a buyer for one refinery, now they hope someone might be interested in a pair.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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