Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Williams Wants Higher Capacity at Oil Refinery

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Williams Wants Higher Capacity at Oil Refinery

Article excerpt

PHOENIX (AP) _ The Oklahoma firm which wants to take over development of an oil refinery southwest of Phoenix says it will go ahead with its plans only if it gets permission to expand the plant's capacity.

A capacity of 30,000 barrels a day was authorized for the plant that had been under construction in Mobile, 17 miles southwest of Phoenix, by the Scottsdale office of Maricopa Refining Co. of Delaware.

The Williams Companies Inc. of Tulsa has proposed to acquire it.

And in a meeting Tuesday with reporters and editorial writers of The Arizona Republic and The Phoenix Gazette, this city's morning and afternoon newspapers, Williams executives acknowledged their company has never operated a refinery but said it has extensive experience operating natural-gas extraction plants.

The executives also acknowledged their firm has a record of fatal fires, explosions and pipeline leaks in the Midwest but contended it has learned from the problems and has made improvements since then.

The Mobile refinery will be state of the art and therefore safe and non-polluting, Phillip Wright, senior vice president and general manager, told the Republic.

Williams said it has asked Maricopa County's Planning and Zoning Commission to allow the company to increase capacity to 50,000 barrels a day. The extra capacity is needed to allow economical operation, the company said.

The commission is to consider the request Dec. 15.

Williams also wants the refinery zoning, which is to expire in 2008, to be made "reasonably permanent."

Some environmental groups oppose the project and are urging county officials to reject the expansion request.

Steve Brittle, president of the Don't Waste Arizona environmental group, said he fears that if the refinery is allowed, other polluting industries _ such as chemical, fertilizer and plastic manufacturers _ will follow. …

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