Alon expects Calif. crude-rail facility permits by end 1Q 2014

HOUSTON Fri Nov 8, 2013 12:00pm EST

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HOUSTON Nov 8 (Reuters) - Alon Energy USA expects to receive permits to build a crude-by-rail offloading facility at its California refining system by the end of the first quarter 2014, later than previous estimates of the fourth quarter this year, Chief Executive Paul Eisman told analysts on Friday.

The company shut down the system a year ago because its dependence on imported crude made it unprofitable. The rail facility will allow Alon to tap cheaper inland U.S. crude.

Eisman said the company could restart the system "as early as 2015" if Alon gets permits by the end of the first quarter next year to build the rail offloading facility, but "we've not made the decision to do that at this point."

Eisman also said the company was "looking at options" to expand its Big Spring, Texas, refinery, which is in the growing Permian Basin.

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