The Continental Refining Company (CRC) announced that it is moving forward with plans to invest an additional $20 million to acquire and install a soybean crushing, biodiesel refining and blending facility at the current CRC oil refinery in Somerset, Kentucky. CRC has completed its evaluation of the project feasibility and is currently making progress with detailed design, equipment procurement, permitting, and construction of a soybean processing facility, biodiesel plant, and a fuels terminal.
Soybean field (Continental Refining)
The ability to produce biofuels and soy-based products in Somerset will open new markets while providing farmers, CRC’s customers, vendors, investors and the community a solid AgriTech business opportunity that provides a positive economic impact for the entire region. CRC’s transformational concept has been well received by the local, regional, and state community as well as suppliers of raw materials and customers of the CRC products. CRC has garnered the support of Pulaski, Wayne and Adair County Agriculture Development Councils.
Local entrepreneur and Hemisphere Limited CEO Demetrios Haseotes purchased the refinery in 2011, investing over $60 million updating and improving the facility’s crude oil refining capabilities. Haseotes will now shift his focus to soybeans as the future of diesel energy production and additives at his Continental refinery.
“The Southcentral and Southeastern regions of Kentucky have industries and institutions that rely on diesel fuels, and because Kentucky is a leader in the nation for soybean production, the region also has the raw materials and technology to make biodiesel at a scale that reflects the local and regional demand.” Haseotes said. “We have consulted with local, progressive Soybean producers, taken their input and they are very encouraged about the project. We look forward to investing in the future of energy production that actually creates beneficial biproducts we can in turn sell, like high-protein fiber meal for poultry and livestock.” Haseotes adds, “Our new operation will provide energy for animal and machine, the perfect complement to our regional economy.”
The conversion of Continental’s Somerset facility is already well under way. CRC has initiated the permitting process with the Kentucky Division of Environmental Protection (KDEP). The biodiesel plant has been procured and engineering services are currently being performed to develop the plans necessary for installation. The soybean processing equipment is deep into its design phase with equipment procurement and installation soon to follow and anticipated startup in the 1st Quarter of 2022. Haseotes expects to receive and begin processing soybeans by January 2022.
CRC would create up to 20 new jobs with an annual payroll of over $1.2 million and an average salary range of approximately $18-20 per hour. To date, CRC has hired five of the needed 20 employees with plans to hire 6 more by Summer 2021, and the rest coming on board in the 4th Quarter of 2021.
CRC is located on 77 acres in the heart of Somerset, Kentucky. This revitalization process would include the acquisition and installation of its soybean crushing and biodiesel facility. CRC’s crushing facility will process nearly four million bushels of soybean per year (84 thousand tons) while its biodiesel refining division will generate up to five million gallons per year as planned. CRC’s product terminal will have the ability to distribute over 130 million gallons of product.
The Company will utilize local businesses to provide soybean feedstock that will be refined into biodiesel fuels to support the farm, school and community fuel needs of Pulaski County, Kentucky and surrounding regions.
Biodiesel is a domestically produced, clean-burning, renewable substitute for petroleum diesel. Using biodiesel as a vehicle fuel increases energy security, improves air quality and the environment, and provides safety benefits.
The proposed in-state crushing facility will reduce costs for farmers, keep jobs in Kentucky, reduce wear and tear on infrastructure and contribute positively to the economies of Pulaski County and the greater Commonwealth.
The revitalized facility will have a significant economic impact, as it relies heavily on a network of producers and has the potential to develop ancillary business opportunities through the supply chain. Beneficiaries include local producers, equipment and machinery manufacturers, other value-added agriculture processors, and businesses in the construction and logistics service sectors to name a few.