LIMA — Husky Lima Refinery is scheduled to complete its crude oil flexibility project by the end of the year, company representatives said Thursday.
The project, which started in 2012, will allow to refinery to process up to 40,000 barrels per day of heavy crude feedstock, an undertaking which company representatives say is necessary to keep the Lima refinery competitive.
“(Heavy crude processing) is an advantage that many of the Midwest refineries already have, so we are catching up with them,” said Claudio Ingaramo, vice president for U.S. refining and general manager of Husky Lima.
Heavy crude is thicker and more difficult to process, in part due to a higher concentration of contaminants like sulfur which require special technologies and processes to refine, Ingaramo explained. Construction is still underway.
The refinery is already hiring and training employees for the upcoming reorganization that will occur once the crude oil flexibility project is complete. Ingaramo said 55 of the refinery’s 470 employees were hired in 2018 in anticipation of the heavy crude transition.
“That requires a lot of training,” he said.
Ingaramo noted that the refinery will shut down for an undisclosed period starting in the fourth quarter of 2019 to make the connections associated with the crude oil flexibility project.