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Section A: General News


Nixon refinery back to life as Blue Dolphin acquires plant




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Wilson County News
February 29, 2012 | 2,181 views | Post a comment

NIXON -- The Nixon Crude Oil Processing Facility on U.S. 87 here is on a path toward recommissioning, according to Blue Dolphin Energy Co. President Jonathan Carroll.

The long-dormant facility currently employs 45 workers, who have been refining approximately 7,500 barrels of crude oil each day. These efforts, Carroll said, are to ensure that equipment is performing properly. The oil refined in Nixon is being brought in from up to a 100-mile radius, with much of it a result of the ongoing exploration of the Eagle Ford shale.

Meanwhile, under an acquisition finalized Feb. 21, Houston-based Blue Dolphin Energy Co. has purchased the refinery from Houston-based Lazarus Energy Holdings, LLC. According to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Lazarus -- a Delaware limited-liability corporation -- was issued a total of 8,426,456 shares of Blue Dolphin common stock in exchange for the refinery. As a result, Lazarus now owns 80 percent of Blue Dolphin.

On Feb. 15, Lazarus’ President Jonathan Carroll, 50, assumed the role of Blue Dolphin’s president and chief executive officer (CEO). He replaces Ivar Siem, who served as the company’s CEO, president, and secretary. Siem will remain as chairman of Blue Dolphin’s board of directors.

Also resigning as a result of the acquisition were Blue Dolphin directors Harris A. Kaffie and Erik Ostbye. A. Haag Sherman and Herbert N. Whitney were appointed to replace them.

Carroll is looking forward to fully recommissioning the long-dormant facility.

The tumultuous efforts to bring Nixon’s refinery back online are now in their sixth year. Lazarus paid $16.05 million to purchase the plant at a 2006 bankruptcy auction. Renovations have been ongoing and the city of Nixon installed 1 mile of water and sewer lines to the refinery in exchange for its voluntary annexation.

In 2008, an attempt to sell the plant in a reverse merger with Florida-based SMF Energy Corp. was unsuccessful. Then in 2010, Lazarus was unsuccessful in borrowing $2 million from Blue Dolphin. In exchange, Blue Dolphin would have been allowed to acquire Lazarus assets including the Nixon plant, a barge and truck terminal in Mermentau, La., and the 560,000-barrel storage capacity associated with the two facilities.

In the meantime, the refinery has repeatedly been posted for substitute trustee’s sale at the Wilson County Courthouse, after Lazarus allegedly defaulted on its debts. At one point, the company owed more than $110,000 in back taxes on the Wilson County portions of the property.

Then on July 22, 2011, Blue Dolphin and Lazarus entered into the purchase and sale agreement responsible for the Feb. 21 acquisition.
 

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