Tesoro Corp. announced Tuesday that the company will shut down its refinery at Campbell Industrial Park by April.
Tesoro Hawaii's Kapolei refinery went up for sale in January 2012 after the company decided to back out of the Hawaii market. Tesoro's operations at 32 retail stations and all associated assets were also on sale.
After the refinery closes, refined fuel will be shipped to the facility and stored there. Upon conversion of the refinery to an import, storage and distribution terminal, Tesoro believes third party utilization of the terminal and associated logistics will facilitate ongoing supplies of refined products.
As many as 200 Tesoro workers may lose their jobs because of the refinery's closure, but Tesoro Hawaii Government Affairs manager Lance Tanaka said some workers may continue to earn a paycheck.
"There may be some opportunity for some of them who are qualified to continue to work for the company, but it's too early to tell," said Tanaka.
Tesoro officials briefed workers on the pending closure of the refinery at noon. Dozens of employees could be seen huddled under a large tent located on the property at 91-325 Komohana Street.
Tesoro's refinery can produce up to 3.94 million gallons of gas per day, the largest in the state. The Chevron refinery, also located at Campbell Industrial Park, has the capacity to produce 2.26 million gallons of gas per day.
Mark Glick, the state's energy administrator at the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, believes there will be very little pain at the pump as a result of Tesoro's conversion to a distribution center for gasoline products.
"Because of other competition in the market for refined product, having less of a refining presence here should have a marginal impact for us," Glick told KITV4.
That assessment was supported by Dr. Kang Wu, an energy expert at the East-West Center located next to the University of Hawaii at Manoa.