• Ron Kotrba

Continental Refining makes progress on soybean-crush, biodiesel complex in Kentucky


Photo: Continental Refining Co.

Continental Refining Co. has provided a construction update for what the company calls its “AgriTech evolution” in Somerset, Kentucky, where it is investing $31.5 million to acquire and install equipment to crush soybeans, refine biodiesel, and blend fuels at its legacy petroleum refinery. The plant will have the capacity to process up to 4 million bushels (84,000 tons) of soybeans and manufacture up to 5 million gallons of biodiesel per year. The company broke ground on the project last December.


Storage-tank facilities next to the refinery’s offices are complete, along with modifications to an industrial building that will house the biodiesel plant. Mechanical modifications and installation for the biodiesel refinery are nearing completion. Process operators have been hired and are currently training for startup later this fall.


Perhaps the most visible construction site, according to CRC, has occurred in the soybean-processing area where the main soybean storage bins have been constructed. New buildings have now been constructed in this area to house the soybean-crushing and processing equipment, along with associated product storage and loading systems.


The company noted that, due to uncontrollable issues related to COVID-19, there have been some delays on equipment procurement and installation, which will set back the opening of different phases of the project. The receiving of soybeans will likely be impacted. CRC said it will remain in close contact with local farmers on these delays.


A new fuel terminal has been established on the property as well. The majority of its related equipment has already been received and installation has begun. The new fuel terminal will be complete and operational by end of the year.


CRC officially reopened its fuel distribution and bulk lubricant operations last November, offering on-site fueling for retail, commercial and industrial, construction, agriculture, and residential customers.


CRC serves as a fuel producer and distributor based in Somerset, Kentucky, serving customers in Pulaski and eight surrounding counties.


The company has also entered into marketing agreements to distribute bulk lubricants and products. CRC recently purchased Russell County Oil as part of its expansion plans and is now selling its fuels locally at Midland Farms. The company offers two types of transport as part of its services—large tanker transport and tank wagon.


Local entrepreneur and Hemisphere Ltd. CEO Demetrios Haseotes purchased the refinery in 2011, investing more than $40 million updating and improving the facility’s crude oil refining capabilities over the years. Haseotes will now shift his focus to soybeans as the future of diesel energy production and additives at CRC.


CRC will create up to 36 new jobs with an annual payroll of more than $2.65 million including taxes and benefits and an average salary range of approximately $18 to $20 an hour.


The facility is located on 77 acres in the heart of Somerset, Kentucky. This revitalization process includes the acquisition and installation of its soybean-crushing and biodiesel facility.


CRC’s product terminal will have the ability to distribute more than 130 million gallons of product.


CRC intends to generate income by engaging in the sales of ultra-low sulfur diesel, gasoline, biodiesel ranging from B6 to B100, high-protein fiber meal for animal feed (targeting the broiler-chicken industry), soy hulls, soybean oil for industrial use, and crude glycerin.

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