sinclair to up production

Plans to boost refinery output at Tulsa plant by 60%.

Sinclair Oil Corp. unveiled plans to increase gasoline and diesel production at its Tulsa, Okla., refinery by 60%.

The expansion is scheduled for completion by late 2010 and will include the addition of a crude distillation unit that will raise processing capacity to 115,000 barrels a day from the current 70,000 barrels a day, said Kevin Brown, executive vice president of Sinclair, told The Salt Lake Tribune.

The expansion has been announced in a time when projects of this nature are being simply aren’t happening as much, due to rising labor and material costs, as well as opposition from local residents. Many other companies, such as Valero and ConocoPhillips, have ceased current expansion projected for similar reasons. The price of expanding the Sinclair plant has increased at least 50% since feasibility studies began in 2005, Brown said.

“We think it’s going to continue to escalate in cost so we are trying to beat the rush,” he said.

The cost of the expansion has not been released. The Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce estimates it to be about $1 billion, Brown said. The expansion will allow the refinery to process heavier, higher-sulfur oils from Canada, including crude derived from oil sands that will be supplied by pipeline, according to the newspaper.

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