Spartan Warehouse and Distribution Center, Sunoco’s Refinery in Toledo, and BP moved forward with projects, despite a downturn in the national economy.
Spartan last year completed a 125,000 square foot warehouse and distribution center for Fresenius, a medical care facility.
“They moved in about 110 new employees to Oregon,” Ed Harmon, president of Spartan, said of Fresenius.
Harmon has constructed many warehouse facilities in Oregon in the last several years, then leases space to companies looking for “shovel-ready” sites. His success in drawing companies to Oregon has been considerable.
Spartan has constructed a total of five warehouses in Oregon, including the one for Fresenius and for Caraustar, the nation’s largest supplier of gypsum facing paper in North America, and the second largest manufacturer of convolute-wound and spiral-wound paper tubes and cores.
“In total, that accounts for 600 new jobs,” said Harmon.
Spartan plans to bring more manufacturing companies to Oregon this year.
“We’ve been working on them for the last six months. We don’t have any contracts signed, but the deal’s out there. I think the economy and money supply is kind of wait and see. But we’ll continue to build,” said Harmon.
Spartan also purchased the Bihn construction building on Lallendorf Road. “We are rehabbing the building, and we’ll hopefully lease it out to a new company in Oregon,” said Harmon.
The company has changed the way it finances projects as a result of the economy, said Harmon.
“We had to change the terms and type of financing we’ve had to obtain. Right now, we have a new manufacturing facility we’re building and we’ll own in Birmingham, Alabama, and another one in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We had to go to third tier type of loans for those projects, which are short term versus long term. So the economy has had an impact. Very much so,” said Harmon.
“It’s more of a challenge, but deals are still being made,” he added
At Sunoco’s refinery in Toledo last year, employees worked to optimize refinery operations, which resulted in improved production of jet fuel and diesel fuel, according to Olivia K. Summons, company spokesman.
“At the same time, we continued to work on a project begun in 2006 that will enable the refinery to meet new environmental regulations,” said Summons. “Approximately 500 contractors each day have worked on the project in tandem with refinery employees. The construction project reached the halfway point in August, 2008.”
In addition, Sunoco’s Community Advisory Panel will celebrate 10 years of active and successful community involvement in April, 2009.
Market conditions in the refining industry will be challenging and volatile this year, said Summons.
Given the current difficult market conditions, there will be a greater focus on becoming more cost-competitive, she said.
“We will look more closely at the way we buy supplies, materials, utilities, equipment and services. We will work hard to optimize refinery operations so that we can better respond to opportunities in the market,” said Summons.
BP- Husky Refining LLC.
Last March, BP’s Oregon refinery completed a deal with Husky Energy to create an integrated North American oil sands business by means of two separate joint ventures, one of which entails Husky taking a 50 percent interest in BP’s Toledo refinery. The Toledo refinery is now named BP-Husky Refining LLC., according to Mary Caprella, director of public affairs at BP.
Subject to necessary approvals and permits, Toledo will be expanded to process approximately 170,000 barrels per day of heavy oil and bitumen from the Sunrise field in Alberta, Canada, said Caprella. This multi-year project is still in the early design and engineering phase at the refinery.
Last year, BP-Husky achieved its best safety and environmental performance since 1998, according to Caprella.
“Specifically, we had a 75 percent reduction in Days Away from Work and a 43 percent reduction in OSHA recordables. As of Feb. 4, we have worked 3.9 million man hours without a lost time accident,” said Caprella, meaning there has not been an injury resulting in someone not being able to return to work on their next scheduled shift.
“From an environmental standpoint, we had a 74 percent reduction in uncontrolled releases. Since 2000, we have had a 42 percent reduction in regulated air emissions and 30 percent reduction in water emissions,” she said.
Last November, 36 new BP employees completed their eight week Basic Operator Training. “We are pleased to be hiring and training new employees that will operate our refinery for years to come,” she said.
This year, BP as a company will be celebrating 100 years of being in business, and its refinery in Oregon will be celebrating 90 years in the business, she said.
“We recognize the next year or two will be challenging given the current economy, but we believe we are well-positioned to meet that challenge,” said Caprella. “We will continue to focus on safety, people and performance. And as our CEO, Tony Hayward has said, we need to make certain that `every dollar counts.’”