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    Premcor to Close Refinery

    Low-sulfur upgrades too costly, company says.

    ST. LOUIS -- Faced with expensive upgrades to meet the new low-sulfur regulations, the Premcor Refining Group Inc. said it would close its Hartford, Conn. refinery and discontinue operations in October.

    "We have evaluated the feasibility of upgrading our Hartford refinery to meet future low-sulfur gasoline and diesel fuel specifications and have been unable to justify the significant investment that would be necessary to remain operational," said Thomas D. O'Malley, chairman and CEO of Premcor.

    In order for Premcor to meet the deadline for the introduction of low sulfur gasoline regulations, a significant capital investment would have to begin in the fourth quarter of 2002.

    "Employee safety and the environment will continue to be Premcor's focus during the transition period prior to closing the refinery," O'Malley said.

    Additionally, Premcor will continue to pursue all opportunities, including a sale of the refinery, to mitigate the loss of jobs and refining capacity in the area. Premcor operates two other refineries, the Port Arthur facility with a capacity of 250,000 barrels per day (bpd) and the Lima Ohio refinery with a capacity of 160,000 bpd. O'Malley said he expects both plants to be able to meet the new fuel specifications in a timely manner.

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