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Kovar promises improvements at refinery

PASCAGOULA — Chevron’s Pascagoula refinery will return to “top-tier performance” by 2013, which the plant celebrates its 50th year in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Press reports that Tom Kovar, the refinery’s general manager, told a local business group this week that the Pascagoula operation was once a top-tier performer, “but we’ve slipped a bit.”

Kovar has a three-pronged approach to getting the refinery shipshape once again, he said.

He said the company will focus on improving efficiency, diversifying its product line and diversifying its raw material capabilities.

“We’re going to get this refinery back to top-tier performance, and we’re going to get it all done by 2013 … to coincide with our anniversary,” he said. “That’s how we’re going to celebrate.”

Several major construction projects, including a $500-million continuous catalyst regeneration project and a base oil manufacturing facility, will help achieve those goals, he said.

The CCR project is to increase gasoline production 10 percent, and should be complete by September and online by Thanksgiving.

The base oil plant would be capable of producing 25,000 barrels of base oil a day and would “put us into the lubrication business,” Kovar said.

He said he hopes to get full funding on the project by year’s end.

Base oil is used to produce premium lubricants, such as motor oil.

Kovar became general manager in March succeeding Roland Kell. Kovar had been general manager of the company’s Pembroke refinery in Wales and had previously worked at the Pascagoula refinery in the 1980s.

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