Philly refinery to pay workers through late August in long shot effort to restart site

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Philadelphia Energy Solutions will keep workers on its payroll through late August as federal, state and local officials look for a way to restart the refinery that was slated to close after an explosion and fire.

U.S. Bob Casey, D-PA, announced the decision on Wednesday.

An individual, who did not wish to be identified, said that contrary to Casey’s statement, the change only affects union employees who are covered under a collective bargaining agreement and have sued over not providing adequate notice of a layoff under the federal WARN system.

Other employees have been let go, the individual stated.

WHYY reported management of the South Philadelphia refinery opted to pay employees in anticipation of a possible restart. (Click on the headline below on the full story).

Philadelphia Energy Solutions extends pay for refinery workers

Options for the resumption of refining are limited, given the losses that have occurred under existing management, WHYY reported.

The successor company to former refinery owner Sunoco and private equity giant Carlyle own the refinery complex, but have not invested heavily in modernization.

The refinery emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings this year but continues to struggle with financial issues, includng unpaid taxes.

The complex, which actually consists of two refineries, is not as versatile as other sites, such as PBF Energy’s Delaware City refinery. Delaware City’s production is less than half the figure of Philadephia Energy Solutions’ output.

However, Delaware City has a high Nelson complexity rating when compared to the Philadelphia site, A higher Nelson rating means a refinery can process heavier oil. That can boost profits if the heavier crude can be bought at a discount to lighter grades.

The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery is the largest on the East Coast. The effect of a permanent closing on regional gas prices remains to be seen.

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