TRAINER, Pa. (CBS) – Another oil refinery in our area is up for sale.  Conoco-Phillips has told its 400 employees at its Trainer (Delaware County), Pa. facility they could be out of work in the next six months if a buyer isn’t found.

Officials say workers will spend this week shutting down the refinery and the next few months keeping things in order for a potential buyer.

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Corporate spokesman Rich Johnson says the company looked at many alternatives, including modernizing the plant or finding a joint operator. But in this economy, he says, getting out seemed the best for them.

“The northeast is a very challenging market for the refining business,” Johnson told KYW Newsradio today.  “We’ve seen demand has dropped off over the last few years. We also have increasing pressure from imported refined products.”

This news comes on the heels of a decision from Sunoco to sell its refineries in Southwest Philadelphia and Marcus Hook by next summer or mothball them for good (see related story).

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Conoco-Phillips will do that in just six months if it doesn’t find a buyer, and hopes to have some clear indications on the future of the Trainer facility in about three.

Following the announcement, the United Steelworkers — which represents the refinery workers — issued a statement criticizing Conoco-Phillips for blaming imports for its refinery’s difficulty while buying those same imports for its operations here.  “That does not make sense,” the statement said.

“According to the Energy Information Administration’s imports database for June 2011 (the latest data available), Conoco-Phillips imported 10,000 barrels per day of gasoline (port of entry not given); 25,000 bpd of gasoline blendstocks into the East Coast; 14,000 bpd of residual fuel (port of entry not given); 43,000 bpd of unfinished oils into the East Coast; 12,000 bpd of unfinished oils into the Gulf and West Coasts; and 1,000 bpd of lubricants into the Gulf Coast,” the statement continued.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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