Cross Oil Refinery Shuts Down


A vacuum distillation unit malfunction has halted production at Cross Oil Refining& Marketing Co.s 5,000 barrels per day naphthenic base oil plant in Smackover, Ark., where Cross is headquartered.

The company yesterday began informing customers that it shut down the plant after operators were alerted to the malfunction on April 23. We averted a more serious problem by shutting down, and were actually in the process of repairing the unit as we speak, Vice President Lubes Marketing Larry Slagle told Lube Report. But its a several-week process to do all these repairs. We hope to resume normal operations and shipments the week of May 28.

With the whole refinery down, Slagle said,Cross will accelerate a turnaround it had previously scheduled for December. So were doing some additional work while were down anyways, he explained. Basically, we got caught with little inventory because we didnt particularly plan to be down right now. He said the May 28 start-up date is an estimate, and the company will update customers if it foresees a change.

According to the letter sent to customers yesterday, the company will take time during the repair procedure to evaluate additional capital projects to improve ongoing operations and reliability of the plant. The letter also said Cross has contract and company personnel working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to restore operations.

Though best known as a naphthenics base oil refiner, Cross also makes and markets automotive and industrial lubricants, having expanded that part of its business in early 2006. The company uses its own base oil to make products that are certified for meeting ISO specifications. Cross primarily sells its industrial lubricants such as hydraulic fluids to the farm, construction and logging industries.

InNovember 2006, Cross was acquired by Martin Resource Management Corp., a transporter and supplier of oil products and chemicals.

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