New ownership and big plans
[This page is under construction]
Equilon put WRR up for sale in 2000 and after Premcor failed to complete a purchase the Tosco Corporation quickly bought the refinery. The following year Phillips Petroleum Company purchased Tosco and the year after that Phillips merged with Conoco Inc. to form ConocoPhillips, becoming the third largest integrated oil company and second larger refining company in the U.S. ConocoPhillips began investing heavily in WRR, its largest refinery. Plans were announced for a massive Coker and Refinery Expansion (CORE) Project with the intent to process heavy Canadian tar sand crude oils. To fund the $3.8 billion CORE Project a joint venture was announced between ConocoPhillips’ Wood River and Borger (Texas) refineries and EnCana Corporation of Alberta, Canada. The joint venture was named WRB Refining LLC with equal ownership by the two companies (ConocoPhillips being the refinery operators). A few years later EnCana spun off its oil division as Cenovus Energy, which continued the partnership. Meanwhile, an SZorb unit, utilizing a unique Phillips Petroleum developed process for removing sulfur compounds from gasoline, was built.
Premcor shut down the Hartford Refinery, which was later purchased by ConocoPhillips. In 2004 the distilling unit and coker were restarted and integrated into WRR operations. That segment of WRR continues to operate with the designation Distilling West.