On January 1, 2021, Cenovus Energy acquired Husky Energy to form the third largest Canadian oil and natural gas producer and the second largest Canadian refiner. Learn more at Cenovus.com.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Superior Refinery rebuild


General FAQs

When will the Refinery be operating again?

The Refinery is expected to resume operations in 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.

How will the Refinery be different after the rebuild?

The rebuilt Refinery will be safe, modernized and more energy-efficient, with the same capacity and ability to produce a full slate of products to service the region, including asphalt, gasoline, diesel and fuel oils. Best Available Control Technology (BACT), which incorporates advances in technology and efficiencies made across the refining industry, will continue to be used at the Refinery.

The Refinery's rebuild plans incorporate additional HF safety enhancements which, with regulatory approval, will include:

  • Additional layers of water mitigation. The HF unit currently has a water system that includes a dedicated curtain and two water cannons, which are a highly effective method of addressing hydrofluoric acid vapors, if needed.
  • A Rapid Acid Transfer System which can quickly transfer HF to an independent secure holding tank.
  • Enhanced leak detection, including a laser detection system.

Will the Refinery have a greater capacity?

The capacity will remain the same 50,000 bbls/day.

What unions operate at the Refinery?

The Refinery has nearly 200 employees and more than 110 are represented by the Operating Engineers Local 120. The Refinery also hires numerous contractors during the year, many represented by unions.

How many additional workers/unions will be involved in rebuilding the Refinery?

At peak construction, there will be hundreds of additional contract workers on-site. Workers will be hired through the companies providing labor and services during the rebuild and many are expected to be represented by various unions.

After the rebuild, will the Refinery need to hire more people?

When the rebuild is complete, the Refinery's almost 200 employees will resume their regular work producing a full slate of products, including asphalt, gasoline, diesel and fuel oils. A need for additional permanent employees is not anticipated.

The Refinery will continue to hire contractors throughout the year for various projects and maintenance activities.

Do you know what caused the explosion and how are you addressing the issue in the rebuild?

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) found a failed slide valve allowed a flammable mixture to form inside the catalytic cracking unit which caused the initial explosion. The Refinery's internal investigation has been largely consistent with CSB's finding. Appropriate changes to policies, procedures and equipment are being made as part of the rebuild process. Work continues with the CSB and industry associations to share lessons learned to help prevent an incident of this nature from occurring in the future.

What has been going on at the Refinery since the incident?

After stabilizing the site, a thorough cleanup was completed. Demolition of affected areas is underway and routine maintenance operations have been ongoing.

As part of the Refinery's commitment to its employees and the community, they have had continued employment since the fire.

What kind of oversight will there be for the rebuild?

The Refinery will work with federal, state and local regulators to ensure rebuild activities are conducted in accordance with applicable regulations.

Refinery personnel will engage with the community and other stakeholders informed of the progress during the rebuilding process, addressing questions and issues that arise.

How have you kept the community informed since the incident and how do you plan to keep it updated as the rebuild progresses?

The Refinery has held two open houses (most recently on April 16, 2019), provided updates through community newsletters and the Company's website, and engaged community members through the Superior Refinery Community Advisory Panel.

As the rebuild project progresses, the community and other stakeholders will be kept informed of progress and developments through open houses, stakeholder meetings, newsletters and this website.

Community feedback on the rebuild, including options for community safety improvements outside the refinery fenceline can be sent to HuskySuperior@huskyenergy.com.