By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
Eighteen months after announcing a major change in its operation and the release of 200 employees, work on HollyFrontier’s proposed renewable diesel plant in Cheyenne is progressing well, according to a company spokeswoman
Corinn Smith, director of corporate communications for the Dallas-based HollyFrontier, said although she could not provide details on the company’s efforts to convert its Cheyenne petroleum refinery to a renewable diesel plant, the company plans to begin production of its new product this year.
“I’m happy to highlight that we’re moving along well, and have moved operational timing up from (the first quarter of) 2022 to (the fourth quarter of) 2021,” she said in an email to Cowboy State Daily.
More information on specifics of the work will be provided once production begins, she said.
HollyFrontier announced in June 2020 that the petroleum refinery it operated in Cheyenne for 86 years would be converted to a plant that uses soybean oil to create up to 90 million gallons of “renewable diesel” per year.
At the time, the company said the work would require 12 to 18 months to complete and would result in the release of about 200 workers.
A slide presentation about the project released in November said the company would begin production of its new product in the fourth quarter of 2021, which ends in three weeks, on Dec. 31.
Smith also declined to answer questions about whether the 200 HollyFrontier employees who were expected to lose their jobs as a result of the work have all been laid off, although she did note that going forward, the plant will employ more than 80 people full-time.
“HollyFrontier is proud to be a part of the Cheyenne community and we look forward to employing more than 80 full-time employees at the facility,” she wrote.
News of the reduction in HollyFrontier’s workforce was met with dismay among state and local officials when it was announced.
“The announcement … is a devastating blow to Cheyenne, Laramie County and all of Wyoming,” Gov. Mark Gordon said at the time.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:25 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, to reflect new quotes from HollyFrontier.