NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Alon Usa Energy Inc ALJ.N has begun to reconfigure its 68,000 barrel-per-day Bakersfield, California, refinery as a stand-alone vacuum gasoil hydrocracker with start-up expected in June of 2011, a company spokesman said on Monday.
The Bakersfield hydrocracker will run VGO produced at the company's 85,000 bpd Paramount refinery in Long Beach, California, and produce gasoline and distillates for the Bakersfield market.
The reconfiguration will result in a 55 percent yield in distillates at the refinery.
This is the first phase of of a potential many-phase reconfiguration at Bakersfield as Alon seeks to find other ways to maximize returns on the Bakersfield refinery it bought out of bankruptcy in 2010.
The spokesman said that the combined Paramount-Bakersfield refinery will will produce 35 percent distillates, 35 percent asphalt and 30 percent gasoline when the work is completed in June.
"The future growth of gasoline demand is negative," said the spokesman, in explaining why Alon was increasing its distillate yields at the expense of gasoline. (Reporting by Jeffrey Kerr; editing by Jim Marshall)