Back from the brink. The Delaware City Refinery is officially back in business after a lengthy shut down that almost ended with the facility being dismantled.
Several thousand workers have spent months refitting, repairing, and basically rebuilding the refinery in Delaware City that state officials and company leaders cut the ribbon on Friday morning. About 750 full time workers on now on the job at the facility, with hundreds more employed at businesses that help support the plant.
At the re-opening ceremony, Governor Markell reflected on the day he heard that Valero, the refinery’s former owners, had decided they couldn’t make money on the plant, and would shut it down. Markell met with workers at the facility a few days later, “You inspired me, because it was clear you weren’t done fighting for yourselves, and I wasn’t going to be done fighting for you.”
That inspiration led Markell to Thomas O’Malley, head of PBF Energy. “It wouldn’t have happened, certainly without one of the best business leaders that I have ever met and dealt with,” Markell said of O’Malley who’s company now owns and operates the facility. O’Malley returned the kind words for Markell and other elected leaders in the state, “I’ve never had an experience like I’ve had in Delaware.”
While celebrating the return of jobs in the current economy, Markell says PBF’s commitment to running the plant cleanly is also significant. The facility has a long history of environmental releases and problems with pollution, but Markell says that’s in the past. “They’ve made significant progress already, and you heard Tom O’Malley say earlier that they believe that they can continue to make progress.” The facility’s permit will allow for 2,500 tons of Nitorous Oxide (NOX) emissions per year, that’s half of the 5,000 tons per year under the previous permit. Over the next three to four years, that 2,500 tons will drop to about 1,650 tons, or about two-thirds of what the refinery has been allowed to emit under previous owners.