550 jobs lost as another Del. River refinery closes

Valero Corp.'s historically dirty Delaware City, Del. oil refinery, whose glow is visible for miles along I-95 and the Delaware estuary, is to be shut down following a string of recent job cuts. Update: Inquirer story here.

The closing follows Sunoco's recent shutdown at its Eagle Point refinery in West Deptford, Gloucester County, reducing the region's historic role as the major East Coast oil refinery as US fuel consumption falls and newer refineries are built abroad..

"We have exhausted all viable options," said Valero ceo Bill Klesse in this statement. The "permanent" closing is "due to financial losses caused by very poor economic conditions, significant capital spending requirements and high operating costs." 550 employees were told today they'll lose their jobs, as the company started severance negotiations with oilworkers' labor unions. Valero promised a "safe and orderly" shutdown.

The company had closed its gasifier and coking operations earlier this fall in an attempt to cut losses and put the works on the block, but failed to find a buyer.

Says Del. Gov. Jack Markell in a statement,“The company’s decision to close the refinery leaves us with several problems to solve." First, there's hundreds of workers losing their jobs. Also, “to protect the health and safety of everyone who lives near the facility, we need to ensure accountability for the environmental issues that come from closing a refinery, and we will.”