$1B 'Clean Fuels' plant for Del. River refineries - with a catch

PBF Holding Company LLC and Delaware City Refining Company LLC, refinery operator Tom O'Malley's companies that last fall reopened the shuttered Delaware City, Del. oil refinery with help from millions in state aid, said today their board "conditionally approved the construction of a $1 billion project consisting of a mild hydrocracker and hydrogen plant" to reduce sulfur from 65,000 barrels a day of petroleum processed by the companys's refineries in Delaware City and in Paulsboro, NJ, "from 2,000 parts per million of sulfur to less than 15 parts per million of sulfur."

The companies, under pressure to reduce pollution at the notoriously dirty plant, say the new cracker will help process high-sulfur heavy crude into relatively "clean transportation fuels."

It's not a done deal: PBF needs favorable state and federal environmental permits that don't impose huge new costs, or the project won't work, the company said in a statement released through Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.

The new plant would employ hundreds of temporary construction workers; done, it will employ around 50; perhaps most important, it will enable PBF to make money refining oil at both plants "in good times and bad," O'Malley said in the statement. 

The PFM move comes as Sunoco and Conoco plan to close or sell oil refineries further north in Pennsylvania, idling hundreds of workers. 

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