Alon Discovers Leak While Starting Up Bakersfield Refinery

Alon USA Energy Inc. (ALJ) is trying to identify the source of a hydrogen sulfide leak at its Bakersfield, California, refinery that was discovered while operators were starting up production.

The company has evacuated all contractors from the units, said Gordon Leaman, the refinery’s general manager. According to a notice filed with state regulators, the leak was discovered at 8:10 a.m. local time today.

Alon said in March that it expected to start the hydrocracker at the refinery by mid-2011. The company plans to process vacuum gas oil produced from its other California refineries. Alon bought the refinery from Flying J Inc.

“We don’t know yet” whether the leak will affect production start-up at the plant, Leaman said. Firefighters and a hazmat team are on site, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net; Paul Burkhardt in New York at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Marino at dmarino4@bloomberg.net

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