Processing news briefs, June 1

Holly Corp. ... Navajo Refining ... Taiwan�s Ministry of Economic Affairs ... InterOil Corp. ... Koch Petroleum ... BP Amoco


Holly Corp., Dallas, is implementing a cost reduction and production efficiency program that is expected to yield an annual pre-tax profit improvement of more than $20 million. "This program will substantially enhance the long-term competitive strength of our refining operations," said Matthew P. Clifton, president of Holly and its Navajo Refining Co. affiliate. Clifton said the program is designed to achieve the maximum benefit for the long-term health of the company "while minimizing adverse effects on our employees and the communities in which we [operate]." Included are productivity enhancements and a 10% reduction in workforce, most of which will come from Navajo. Holly will reduce some of its staff through voluntary early retirement.

Reports circulating in Taipei indicate that Taiwan�s Ministry of Economic Affairs is considering easing restrictions against investment in mainland China by manufacturers of basic petrochemicals. Taiwan�s petrochemical industry is welcoming reports that the new administration has decided to review the official policy of "no haste, be patient" that has barred petrochemical firms from making any significant investments in China. In addition to lower production costs in China, Taiwan�s petrochemical makers say that the ability to set up production facilities there would offer the additional benefit of proximity to their major customers, Taiwanese manufacturers of derivative chemical products that have already moved operations to China.

InterOil Corp. and Koch Petroleum Group Inc. have signed a letter of interest for Koch to participate in InterOil's holding company, SP InterOil LDC, as an equity holder and supplier. The letter outlines preliminary plans for Koch to provide $3 million in combined debt and equity financing to support completion of the InterOil refinery under construction at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and to enable Koch to provide crude oil supply services for InterOil. A number of steps remain before an agreement will be finalized, including due diligence and completion of all definitive agreements. The letter of interest stipulates that either Koch or InterOil may withdraw from the agreement if certain conditions are not met.

BP Amoco PLC will soon offer low-sulfur premium gasoline in the Birmingham, Ala., area, including Jefferson and Shelby counties. BP and Amoco service stations in the area will offer BP Super 93 and Crystal Clear Amoco Ultimate premium gasoline year-round. The fuels have an average sulfur content of 30 ppm vs. the federal requirement of 150 ppm. The move is part of BP Amoco's plan to introduce cleaner fuels in 40 cities around the world by the end of 2000. BP Amoco has already introduced new fuels in a number of cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, London, Paris, and selected cities in Poland.

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