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HollyFrontier Declines To Release Specifics On ‘Renewable Diesel’ Plant Work

in Energy/News

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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.

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HollyFrontier Buys Sinclair Refineries, Stations

in News/Business

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

HollyFrontier, the company that owns Cheyenne’s Frontier Oil Refinery, will buy portions of the Sinclair Companies, including its two refineries in Wyoming, the companies announced Tuesday.

Holly is to acquire the Sinclair Oil Corp. and Sinclair Transportation Co. in a deal aimed in part at expanding its renewable diesel production.

The $1.8 billion deal is expected to close in mid-2022, according to a news release from HollyFrontier.

HollyFrontier announced in June of 2020 that it would convert its refinery in Cheyenne to produce renewable diesel, a fuel made out of soybean oil. Sinclair’s refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming, near Rawlins, is already producing 10,000 barrels of the renewable diesel fuel per day and is in the process of an expansion.

Once the transaction is complete, the Sinclair and Cheyenne refineries will be able to produce about 380 million gallons of renewable diesel per year, the release said.

The addition of the refineries in Sinclair and Casper will give HollyFrontier seven refineries in the Rocky Mountain, mid-continent, Southwest and Pacific Northwest regions, the release said.

In addition to the refineries, the arrangement will give HollyFrontier the Sinclair Oil commercial activities, including its gas stations.

“The transaction will help accelerate the ongoing rapid expansion of our Sinclair branded retail sites and the iconic DINO brand,” said Ross Matthews, chairman and chief executive officer for Sinclair.

HollyFrontier will form a new parent company, HF Sinclair, which will replaced HollyFrontier as the company trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the release said.

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Governor, Mayor Express Dismay Over Refinery Job Losses

in Energy/News/Coronavirus

Gov. Mark Gordon and Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr both expressed dismay on Monday over the announcement that 200 HollyFrontier refinery workers in Cheyenne will lose their jobs in the next 12 to 18 months.

HollyFrontier announced Monday it would convert its Cheyenne refinery to a plant to create diesel fuel from soybean oil and cut its workforce by 200 in the process.

Gordon and Orr issued separate statements about the announcement.

“These job losses are real,” Orr said. “And they hurt.”

“The announcement … is a devastating blow to Cheyenne, Laramie County and all of Wyoming,” Gordon said.

HollyFrontier said it no longer considered the refining of petroleum products to be a sustainable business for its Cheyenne refinery. Officials said much of the refinery’s equipment will be used to make the renewable diesel for sale in California and Colorado, while the rest will be idled.

Orr said the announcement is a sign of the reduced demand for fossil fuels.

“It certainly feels as if the hits keep coming,” she said. “This is the world we live in, a world that is moving away from coal and oil and moving towards clean an reliable new energies such as biodiesel.”

Gordon said he asked the state Department of Workforce Services to be ready to help the displaced refinery workers find new jobs and Orr said she also contacted DWS.

“The good news is we have time,” she said. “HollyFrontier isn’t leaving our community and I know they will continue to be good community partners well into the future.”

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