Ergon Restarting West Virginia Refinery

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Ergon said Tuesday that it had begun the process or restarting its Newell, West Virginia, refinery, which was damaged by a May 29 fire.

The statement did not specifically mention the refinery’s base oil plant, and the company did not respond to questions by deadline. Officials did say two weeks ago that the base oil plant and most others would be restarted.

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After the incident Ergon declared force majeure for base oils and other materials made at the Newell refinery. Tuesday’s statement made no mention of that declaration. The company did say it will take time to rebuild inventories of products for which production is resuming.

The company has said that the fire started in and was contained to a unit involved in fuels production, and officials said this week that resumption of fuels production would be further delayed.

The base oil plant at the Newell refinery has capacity to make 2,900 barrels per day of API Group I oils and 1,900 b/d of Group I.

That makes it one of the smaller base oil plants in the United States, but lubricant companies have expressed concern about the incident’s impact on the market, which is already experiencing shortages due to the effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.