The Oilworker: September 2019


Message from the NOBP Chair

Brothers and Sisters,

There have been some noteworthy events in the sector since our last OilWorker. The most recent has been Motiva’s purchase of the Flint Hill chemical plant in Port Arthur, Texas. The plants are nearly next door and will give Motiva an entry into the chemical sector in the United States. We are also in the midst of discussing some benefit changes proposed by Motiva in the last few weeks and will have to determine how these all fit together with their acquisition.

Approximately two weeks ago, Indorama announced the purchase of our Huntsman chemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, with a likely expansion of the facility going forward. We will be entering into discussion soon to determine if the buyer’s proposal will maintain benefits equal in the aggregate and look forward to working with the new company.

We will also be meeting face to face with PBF representatives in September to begin our discussions of aggregate benefits with the purchase of the Shell Martinez refinery. We have done a thorough review of the two packages with the help of technicians in the collective bargaining department and have had some preliminary phone conversations with the two companies.

The other issue receiving lots of attention the past few weeks has been the effects bargaining resulting from the mothballing of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery. We have reached an agreement on “caretaker” positions in the facility with a few modifications to the current contract, which will continue in effect for one year from date of expiration, Sept. 8. This will also include the first year of the NOBP 3.5 percent pay increase. A big thanks to the legal department and staff who, in conjunction with the local bargaining committee, were able to put a proposal together that maintained work for 83 of our members and collected some vacation pay for the people who were laid off. We also retain seniority recall rights if the refinery is sold and reopened.

And one final item: On Aug. 27, BP announced the sale of their assets in Alaska to Hillcorp. We are currently gathering information, researching Hillcorp and preparing for bargaining. We hope to know more soon, but in the meantime, you can read about the sale here.

Thanks to Director Ruben Garza and all the folks in District 13 for the hospitality and opportunity to meet with our oil groups during the recent educational conference.  We wish you continued success in “facing the challenges and making a difference.”

For more news about our industry, check out the links below.

In strength and solidarity,

Kim Nibarger
NOBP Chair


Shell Weighs Installing Solar Panels at Singapore Refinery

Shell announced last month that it is considering installing solar panels on its Bukom refining site in Singapore. This is part of a larger push to generate solar energy, including panels on the roofs of several Shell lubricant plants worldwide. The panels will be used to help power operations and reduce carbon emissions. To read more, click here

Settlement Reached on Bi-directional Service for Laurel Pipeline

Bi-directional service on the Laurel Pipeline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will begin in October, according to a settlement announced last month. The pipeline had been embroiled in a dispute over bi-directional service for more than a year, with opponents arguing it would hurt East Coast refiners. The agreement guarantees east-to-west capacity to meet demand in Western Pennsylvania. To read more, click here. 

Biofuel Coalition Sues EPA

A coalition of biofuel advocates sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month, demanding the agency enforce the Renewable Fuel Standard. One of the primary goals is to end exemptions, including waivers for small refiners who do not have the capacity to make biodiesel blends. To read more, click here.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222