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Boilermakers Local 363 Praised for Work on Massive $3.8B Phillips’ 66 Refinery Project

Wood River Oil Refinery from afar (by Tom Atwood)

The newly-revamped Phillips 66 Wood River Oil Refinery in Roxana, Illinois is being looked at as an example of local Boilermakers unions prowess. The $3.8 billion project, Phillips 66’s largest refinery with over 800 permanent employees represented by 10 local unions, did not lose a single work day in the last 24 months. During peak construction some 3,000 workers were onsite including 300 Local 363 boilermakers. The Boilermakers union has been involved with the refinery since it was built over 100 years ago.

The project, referred to as CORE (Coker and Refinery Expansion), was completed in November. Project Manager Larry Sicking described the unity achieved between management, contractors, and union labor:

“I think by most measures it was a successful project. It’s a case study and a great example of what working together can really do.” He added that the tripartite approach “was the key to our success.”

Sicking credited much of the success meeting safety standards to Local 363 members Rick Eller and Bill Mulconnery whose experience helped guide site-wide safety leadership teams and site-wide construction teams:

“Rick and Bill participated in those teams along with other business managers, and that’s part of the reason for our project success,” [Sicking said].

The project helped expand the facility’s ability to refine Alberta heavy crude by 200 percent. It also increased gross coking capacity by 65,000 barrels a day and increased gasoline and diesel yield by five percent.

Bill Mulconnery called the Boilermakers performance on the project “a great run.” Sicking agreed:

“When you get on these megaprojects, the work can be complicated. You are in close quarters with other crafts; the scopes vary; so you need a lot of skills to pull this work off; get this work done and get it done safely. The Boilermaker trade proved that it can meet all of those challenges.”


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