HollyFrontier CEO says US fuel markets are healthy

By BEN LEFEBVRE

HOUSTON -- HollyFrontier Corp. expects to increase its refining rate by 3% in the second quarter after finishing refinery maintenance at the beginning the year.

HollyFrontier, a result of the July merger between US refiners Holly Corp. and Frontier Oil Corp., will run its five refineries at a combined 420,000 bpd, a company executive said Monday.

HollyFrontier had been running at 408,000 bpd in the first quarter as it took units down for maintenance at its refinery in Cheyenne, Wyo., for a week.

HollyFrontier will perform hydrotreater maintenance at its 135,000 bpd refinery in El Dorado, Kansas, during the second quarter.

The company plans "heavy maintenance" at its refineries during the third and fourth quarters.

Despite forecasts of a lackluster fuel demand amid a sluggish economy, HollyFrontier has seen solid fuels sales in its home region, CEO Mike Jennings said during a conference call with investors.

"Markets are healthy now, with the Southwest leading the pack," Jennings said.

Dow Jones Newswires

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