Last updated: August 24. 2013 8:45PM - 1021 Views

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LIMA — Refining is a competitive, highly regulated business, Husky Lima Refinery Manager Roy Warnock said Monday. Being flexible is a key way to manage those challenges, and the Lima complex is adding flexibility this week.

Husky has made a $60 million investment in the complex, with a new kerosene hydrotreater, Warnock said while speaking at Lima Rotary Club at the City Club. The new capital will mean the refinery can produce another 20,000 barrels a day of either jet fuel or diesel. The equipment go into production this week, Warnock said.

“It increases our flexibility to produce either. If the economy affects us, we can also just swing back to gasoline production,” Warnock said.

The refinery celebrated its 125th anniversary two years ago. Husky, based in Calgary, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Husky has owned the refinery since 2007 and made an average annual capital investment of about $150 million since then, double the previous ownership, Warnock said.

“You have to generate revenue to sustain that capital spending,” Warnock said.

The Lima refinery produces about 160,000 barrels a day, Warnock said, about a fourth of the gasoline needs for Ohio.

The next major turnaround for the plant will happen in 2014 and 2015, two thirds the first year and the remaining third the following year.

After the strike

Husky is a year into a three-year contract negotiated in 2012 after a prolonged strike by United Steel Workers Local 624. However, the contract was retroactive, and it was only December when employees returned to work. Warnock said the work on relationships is continuing.

“Before the strike, during the strike, the majority of our employees were aligned with Husky,” Warnock said. “The reintegration work that we did was important, but it was effective because the individuals involved are good individuals.”

Warnock said Husky is using a public relations firm to conduct a survey to gauge the community’s opinion regarding the company.

“We want to take the pulse of the community in terms of how they view Husky today,” Warnock said. “The feedback will allow us to continue to be an important contributor to the community.”

Also, the final move surrounding the complex’s new central control facility is going on this week. The new construction consolidated about 30 buildings into one, Warnock said, and has resulted in major efficiencies and safety increases for many employees. Three of the six outside control facilities now are inside. The building also houses the warehouse, maintenance shop, administration and other functions.

Husky has provided $3 million in community grants since 2007 and soon will be named to the 100 top heroes list from Ohio United Way.

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