* Big Spring refinery rates to increase gradually
* Krotz Springs refinery rates now at 72,000 bpd
NEW YORK, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Alon USA (ALJ.N) said operating rates at its 70,000 barrel per day Big Spring, Texas, refinery were at 51,000 bpd in June, with rates gradually increasing through the rest of the year, the company said during a second quarter conference call on Friday.
Rates were lowered at the recommendation of a consultant hired to examine operating procedures after a February 2008 fire and explosion.
In Louisiana, Alon said crude processing rates in June at its 83,000 bpd Krotz Springs refinery were 61,000 bpd, and will increase to 72,000 bpd in the next couple months. The refinery is currently running at 75,000 bpd and expects to reach 72,000 bpd by September.
Alon bought the Krotz Springs refinery from Valero (VLO.N) in 2008 and began a major overhaul on the plant in November 2009 and only began feeding in crude in May. (Reporting by Janet McGurty; Editing by Marguerita Choy) (email@example.com; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org; 646 226 3027))