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  • Continental Refining Co.

Continental Refining starts soy-biodiesel production in Kentucky

From left, Kris Gibson, general manager and vice president of operations; Jay Kelley, biodiesel production manager; and Donald Rowe, lead field operator (Photo: Continental Refining Co.)

Just one short year after the official groundbreaking ceremony for its recent construction and renovation, the Continental Refining Co. has started production at its repurposed agricultural and petroleum complex and is now producing biodiesel from crude soybean-oil feedstock it has purchased from suppliers.

Over the past year, CRC has undergone an agritech evolution, investing an additional $31.5 million to acquire and install a soybean-crushing, biodiesel-refining and blending facility at the legacy CRC oil refinery in Somerset, Kentucky.

The move comes amid surging demand for vegetable oils to produce biodiesel and renewable diesel and the increasing use and export of soybean meal.

CRC has begun to receive contract soybeans and will begin crushing its own beans later in the first quarter of this year.

Once in full operation, the plant will have the capacity to process nearly 4 million bushels of soybeans per year (84,000 tons) into vegetable oil and soybean meal for livestock and poultry feed, while its biodiesel-refining division will generate up to 5 million gallons per year as planned.

A new fuels terminal has been established on the property as well. CRC officially reopened its fuel distribution and bulk lubricant operations at the end of 2021, 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 the eight surrounding counties.

It 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 his Continental refinery.

“Our mission at CRC is to operate an agricultural and petroleum industrial complex as an innovative leader to produce and distribute high-quality feed and fuel products, foster interdependent relationships with local farmers and the Central Kentucky communities we serve, and provide exceptional value and service to our loyal customers,” Haseotes said. “I can’t say enough to express our appreciation for the hard work of CRC’s employees to make this project a success.”



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