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Published: Friday, 9/2/2005

Lima refinery to process oil from nation's reserve

Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. oil refiner, said it requested 1.5 million barrels of crude oil from the government's emergency stockpile to avert shortages stemming from Hurricane Katrina, and some of that oil will be processed in Lima, Ohio.

The company, at least the fourth U.S. refiner to request crude from the reserve this week, yesterday completed the $7.9 billion deal to take over Premcor Inc., which owned a refinery in Lima and three other cities. It gives Valero 18 refineries.

Production at the Lima refinery, which has a 170,000-barrel-a-day capacity, has been running at full tilt without interruption from the hurricane's aftermath, said Tim Murphy, refinery manager.

The refinery, with 400 employees, produces a variety of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuels, as well as other petroleum products such as heating oil.

The Bush Administration decided to release some of oil this week from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because of the lost production from oil rigs and refineries in the Gulf Coast area hurt by the hurricane.

Valero said it would send its share to its facilities in Lima, Memphis, and Krotz Springs, La.

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