By Pat Loeb
TRAINER, Pa. (CBS) – The Conoco Phillips refinery in Trainer, Delaware County will be reopened and converted to jet fuel production, after being purchased by Delta airlines.
Delta calls the $250 million it’s spending to buy and refit the plant, “a modest investment” that will allow it to cut its biggest expense. It says the refinery, which can process 185,000 barrels of oil per day, should provide 80 percent of its fuel needs.
Some 600 people lost their jobs when the refinery shut down last fall. Denis Stephano is president of the facility’s steelworkers union local.
“It’s good news that the refinery’s going to be sold and be operated by someone that wants to run a refinery and make product. It’s great for the community, the school district, great for the workers, great for all of us, great for this part of Delaware County.”
Stephano says he’s hopeful that most of the laid off workers will be hired back.
“Clearly to run a refinery in this day and age you need an experienced knowledgeable work force which is what we have. We’ve had a great safety record, the refinery’s run fantastic because we have good operators and good mechanics.
Stephano says he thinks others may follow Delta’s lead and not just airlines.
“A lot of people will be watching this in the airline industry and other industries and it might make you think why United Parcel Service or FedEx doesn’t look to the future and say, ‘Hey, if Delta can do it, we use a lot of petroleum products; why don’t we take the same shot?’”
Delta got $30 million from the state for job creation and infrastructure improvement and the governor’s office, along with the congressional delegation, have hailed the deal as a major victory for the region.