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Continental Refining Establishes Somerset, Kentucky, Refinery

Continental Refining Co. started construction on the company’s new $26.8 million soybean crushing, biodiesel refining and blending facility in Somerset, Kentucky.

According to company officials, the new operation at its existing 77-acre site on Refinery Road provides products that include soy meal, soy oil, soy hulls, biodiesel, ultra-low sulfur diesel, crude glycerin and gasoline, among others. Soybean processing is planned for early 2022, with the new fuels terminal established by next summer.

“We are excited for this next chapter for CRC,” said Kris Gibson, CRC’s general manager and vice president of operations. “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.”

To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in September approved CRC for up to $150,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.

In addition, CRC can receive resources from Kentucky’s workforce service providers. Those include no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job-training incentives.

“This is a great project for Somerset and Pulaski County. This new operation will create 20 quality jobs in the area while also building on the strong foundation of agritech we have established in our state,” Governor Andy Beshear said. “Projects like this one will help build an economy that works for all Kentuckians for years to come.”

Once fully operational, the facility is expected to process nearly 84,000 tons of soybean per year and generate up to 5 million gallons of biofuel annually. In August, CRC was awarded a $1.7 million-plus grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program for activities designed to expand the availability and sale of renewable fuels.

“Demetrios Haseotes and his team at CRC have demonstrated incredible determination to see this project through to fruition,” added Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority President and CEO Chris Girdler. “We are excited to see this historic entity back up and running again in the Capital of Lake Cumberland. Thanks to all those throughout the region and state for their support and helping us to see continued record-breaking investment in Somerset and Pulaski County.”

The Somerset refinery was acquired by management company Hemisphere Ltd. in 2011 and has since received facility improvements to upgrade the operation’s oil refining capabilities. The shift to biofuels and soy-based products opens the company to new markets and provides customers and local farmers with a new agritech business opportunity.

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