Refinery Expansion Expected To Impact Tulsa

Friday, April 25th 2008, 7:00 pm
By: News On 6

Sinclair Oil broke ground on a billion dollar expansion of its West Tulsa Refinery on Friday.  The project was announced last September and construction begins soon.

The News On 6's Steve Berg reports with construction jobs and construction materials, a big chunk of that billion dollars is going to Tulsa.

In the next few months, Sinclair Vice President Kevin Brown says as many as 2,500 construction workers will descend on the West Tulsa grounds.  Already, he says they've spent roughly $150 million with local businesses.

"Over the course of the project, it's about four million man hours in total, but when we're done, we'll put roughly 200 more people to work than we had working here permanently," said Brown.

In fact they're so eager to find workers; a training program has been set up at Tulsa Community College that is tailored specifically for the Sinclair job openings. Graduates are even guaranteed an interview.

"You will get an interview, and the people that get hired, we will reimburse them their tuition," said Sinclair Spokesman John Goodwin.

The expansion will boost the Tulsa plant's production by 9,000 barrels of gasoline per day, and 36,000 barrels of ultra-low sulphur diesel per day.

It's only a drop in the bucket of the 20 million barrels of crude oil that the U.S. goes through every day. But Brown says the ultra-low sulphur diesel production in Tulsa fills an important niche, about 10% of what we're importing of that particular fuel.

"While it's not a big piece of the overall U.S. demand, it is a good chunk of what we're actually importing.  And we think that's good for us, it's good for the U.S. and it's good for the folks in Tulsa," said Brown.

Sinclair is also planting about 200 new trees between the refinery and River Parks, and creating a larger buffer zone there.

The project will take about 2 years.