LIMA — When oil was discovered in northwest Ohio in the late 1800s, few could predict that Lima would be home to a world-class refinery for the following 100-plus years.
Through several name changes and owners, the Husky Energy Inc. refinery on the south edge of Lima has been a local landmark for generations.
Formed under the name of Solar in 1886, the refinery in 1931 became Sohio. In 1986, Standard Oil merged with British Petroleum. BP sold the refinery to Clark Refining and Marketing in 1998, and Clark changed its name to Premcor Inc. in 2000. The facility was purchased by Husky in 2007.
Claudio Ingaramo, vice president of U.S. Refining for Husky, based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is the manager of the Lima refinery. As a relative newcomer to Lima and the United States, Ingaramo has embraced his new home.
“My family and I moved to Lima from Argentina more than seven years ago, and we are happy to call Lima home,” he said. “It’s a great community with good, kind, hard-working people, many of whom work at the refinery. It’s a special workforce and a special place, and I think a lot of that has to do with Lima’s rich history.”
In 1886, John D. Rockefeller heard of the oil that had been found in and around Lima. He paid a farmer $22,000 for his land and founded the Solar Refinery in the same location where Husky operates today. The refinery’s first challenge set the stage for what would become hallmarks of the refinery – determination, innovation and a strong work ethic.
“When we think of refineries today, we think of gasoline,” Ingaramo said. “But the refinery’s first product was lamp oil for homes. The problem in Lima was that our oil smelled of sulfur, which no one wanted in their homes, even at the pennies Rockefeller was selling it for. He found a scientist who developed a process to remove the sulfur from the lamp oil, saving the product and the refinery. From that time on, the Lima refinery has been a significant part of the community, and we are grateful for a strong connection with the people who live and work here.
“The refinery has been here for more than 130 years, and I’d say there’s no other single business as connected to our community’s identity. Our derricks are on the city’s seal. Our 470 employees start each day committed to the safe and reliable operation of the refinery. That means our first priorities are each other, our neighbors, and the environment.”
Since 2007, Husky has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Lima facility, installing new technology that ensures operations will remain in Lima for the next generation. For example, the crude oil flexibility project that is being tied in allows the plant to process up to 40,000 barrels per day of heavy crude oil, up from 10,000 barrels.
Ingaramo said a new emissions control unit and a water re-use unit are also now in operation.
“The emissions control unit replaces older technology and is considered best available technology for controlling air emissions,” he said.
Additionally, the water re-use unit uses reverse osmosis to remove impurities from water and then recycles the water for process use in the plant. The refinery will now be an intermittent discharger to the Ottawa River, discharging only a fraction of the treated wastewater previously sent to the river. while maintaining discharge limits that are protective of the river ecosystem.