H-SANTA MARIA

Oct 10, 2013 8:33 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Oil refinery to plans to add new train track

An oil refinery on the Nipomo Mesa wants to add new track to transport crude oil to its facility.

Phillips 66 Santa Maria says it needs the track to bring in crude from out of state because the California's reserves are dwindling.

The refinery has invited community members to a meeting Thursday night to learn about the proposal.

Officials hope to build additional railroad track on the refinery grounds. That will help facilitate the added traffic of train cars carrying crude oil.

"Our current sources of crude oil from California are in decline," said Rich Johnson, spokesman for Phillips 66.

Those low supplies mean Phillips 66 has to get crude from out of state to keep the refinery running and its workers employed.

Right now underground pipes feed crude oil to the refinery from all across California.

"This refinery does the front end processing of crude oil, then that semi refined product is then shipped by pipeline 200 miles up the coast to our other refinery," said Johnson.

That's where it then becomes gasoline.

What the company doesn't have is pipelines to bring crude oil in from out of state.

"What we want to do is add some rail lines inside the refinery fence line, so that we can bring in trains with crude oil rail cars and off load the crude oil there inside the refinery," said Johnson.

The refinery already uses a commercial train line run by Union Pacific outside the facility to transport products to other locations.

The new lines inside the 1,600 acre property would connect to those existing tracks.

"All the construction that will be taking place will happen inside the refinery property," said Johnson.

The closest residential neighborhood to the proposed tracks is Trilogy at Monarch Dunes, sitting about a half mile away.

A first draft of the environmental impact report on the tracks is expected to be available for public comment in late November.

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