Calumet Hopes to make Impact In Superior

By KBJR News 1

November 16, 2011 Updated Nov 16, 2011 at 7:08 PM CDT

Superior, WI (Northlands NewsCenter) -- New Ownership at the former Murphy Oil refinery says expansion could be on the horizon.

After the initial fear of potential job loss for some employees, Calumet has eased their way into Superior without a hitch.

Four employees elected to retire in October but Calumet has kept all 155 employees.

Calumet headquarters in Louisiana focuses on specialty products such as lubricants, waxes and solvents. Derek Daniel, the director of Communications says refining for fuels and asphalt will continue in Superior but expansion is being discussed, which will inevitably increase the economic benefit to the area.

"What may happen is that they will become more like what we are down in Louisiana where they will get into the specialty side of the business and they will start doing some of the specialty products which could lead to more people working up here, a bigger operation, possibly some capital improvements. "

"Calumet has a whole different focus to things now. Specialty products in our focus now. Fuel is still important, one of the main reasons I think Calumet bought this facility is because it diversifies their business a little bit. It makes fuel a little bit more important part of their portfolio."

Dave Podratz who continues in his position as Plant Manager believes personnel will be able to handle any company changes.

If and when expansion does happen, new machinery and buildings will be needed.

Derek Daniel says Calumet doesn't have immediate plans for revamping their production, but expansion could happen within a few years.

This is a change that could spark other companies to locate closer to Calumet, as has been the case at their Louisiana location.

Jordan Weinand