Friday, May 27, 2005
Shell's refinery closure ruled not
Shell Oil Co. wasn't trying to tighten gasoline
supplies and boost prices in California when it decided to
close a Bakersfield-area refinery, federal regulators
The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it
would end a yearlong antitrust investigation that found no
evidence the oil company was involved in a price-gouging
scheme in California, which had the nation's highest gas
"We're pleased that the FTC has reached this conclusion,"
Shell spokesman Stan Mays said.
The Bakersfield refinery employed several hundred people
and had a capacity of 70,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
Houston-based Shell, a unit of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group,
announced in 2003 that it would close the 72-year-old inland
refinery, which produces 2 percent of California's gasoline
and 6 percent of its diesel.
Shell, which had two other California refineries, argued
that the inland plant was too old and inefficient to compete
with coastal facilities and that production in the Kern County
oil fields was declining.
The oil company delayed closure under pressure from state
In March, the refinery was sold to Flying J Inc., a
Utah truck-stop operator.
Shell also had been under investigation by the state
Attorney General's Office but that probe will close soon, said
Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Attorney General Bill
The refinery's sale "basically addressed our concerns that
we were going to lose that much-needed fuel," Dresslar