The industrial area of Nikiski is photographed in this undated file photo. (File)

The industrial area of Nikiski is photographed in this undated file photo. (File)

Marathon delays turnaround

The event brings hundreds of local and out-of-area contractors to perform maintenance.

A scheduled turnaround at Marathon Petroleum’s Kenai Refinery will be pushed back until later this year. The turnaround, an event where hundreds of local and out-of-area contractors come into the refinery and perform maintenance, upgrades, inspections and more, was scheduled to happen in mid-April, Casey Sullivan, Marathon’s government and public affairs manager, told the Clarion Thursday.

The contract work involves regulatory and “integrity-driven” inspections and upgrades to help the refinery operate continuously throughout the year, Sullivan said.

The postponement is in the interest of contractor and staff health, a Wednesday press release from the company said.

“The leadership team did not take this decision lightly,” Cameron Hunt, general manager of the Kenai Refinery said in the release. “We are taking these extraordinary measures now to protect our people and the community, and to ensure the Marathon Kenai refinery continues to supply the state of Alaska with critical transportation fuels.”

Sullivan said Marathon is planning to host a turnaround at a different date, potentially in August.

He said the turnaround is an economic driver on the peninsula. The event brings contractors from all over to stay in local hotels and eat at local restaurants.

The Kenai facility has also issued additional safety measures related to COVID-19, including screening procedures, health practice advisories, and telecommuting for employees nonessential to critical day-to-day operations.

The refinery team will continue to work with regulatory agencies to ensure next steps are safe and compliant with state and federal requirements, the release said.

The release said Marathon Petroleum Corporation has had a pandemic response plan in place for years, which they put in place in January.

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