Story last updated at 12/17/2008 - 3:45 pm
ANCHORAGE - The state of Alaska and Flint Hills Resources Alaska announced Dec. 10 plans to join forces in ensuring long-term success at the North Pole Refinery.
Gov. Sarah Palin supports the partnership and lauded the refinery's role as a large employer and economic engine.
"The Flint Hills Resources Alaska refinery in North Pole has a significantly positive economic impact throughout our state," she said. "The refining operation is a major employer in Alaska and is vital to the operations of the Anchorage International Airport, the Port of Anchorage and the Alaska Railroad."
The State and Flint Hills will evaluate options aimed at improving the plant's ability to respond to volatile energy costs, varying product demands and facilitating plant upgrades needed.
Flint Hills is providing data to the Department of Natural Resources, which has assured confidentiality. This data allows DNR the opportunity to analyze refinery economics, an analysis expected to take up to six months.
"This ... buys time to find a successful business solution," Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin said.
The Alaska Railroad and Flint Hills also will review potential opportunities to structure refinery ownership and operations as part of a corporation similar to the Alaska Railroad.
State officials say they will give consideration to the impacts on other in-state refineries. Flint Hills Resources Alaska announced in May that it was reviewing alternatives for the refinery due to financial challenges.
"We look forward to continuing to work together to reach a resolution that will ultimately benefit the people of Alaska, our company and our employees," said Brad Razook, president of Flint Hills Resources.