Bakersfield Refinery Gets New Name, Again

The Bakersfield refinery officially changed names again Wednesday after the sale of the facility on Rosedale highway. ABC 23 spoke to officials at ALON USA about the plans the company has for the facility.

The refinery had been mothballed for more than a year after Flying J declared bankruptcy in December 2008 when more than 175 workers had been laid off at the plant.

ALON is a Dallas-based subsidiary of Alon Israel Oil Co. Ltd. “Our key commitment here is we are going to keep sustainable jobs. This plant will operate long term. We will operate in a different way, it will be a different profile, but I think we need a different profile to be successful,” said Jeff Morris CEO of ALON USA .

One of those different profile plans includes to no longer process crude oil at the plant. But instead they will ship oil it produces from their locations in southern California to the Bakersfield refinery and convert it into gasoline and diesel. The plant will have to be retooled to handle that new plan.

“We are excited about this because it helps us to solidify our position in California. We have a refinery in Paramount that is going to support this refinery that can be competitive in the state in the long term. We will provide sustainable jobs for the people,” said Paul Eisman, president ALON USA.

The new operation will secure 68 jobs, and when the plant is fully operational, they will need up to 100 workers, including contractors.

“It's our responsibility to prove ourselves in this community,” said Eisman. ALON official added that they want to help improve the quality of life for local residents. That's why they said they go beyond environmental standards to achieve environmental excellence. “Our commitment is to operate low emissions refineries,” said Morris.

The new gas/diesel operation at the Bakersfield refinery could produce about 90 percent of the fuel needs in Kern County and that has local county business leaders smiling.

“That’s the kind of strategy that make sense to us, to have a local producer instead of bring in products from the outside. Which as you could imagine would add cost to that distribution network,” said Richard Chapman of the Kern Economic Development Corp.

Officials plan the refinery will be fully operational in about a year.
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