GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – The refinery in Gallup is shutting down for good. It halted operations when the pandemic first hit New Mexico. Now Marathon Petroleum, the company that runs the oil refinery, just told their 200 plus employees they are permanently closing the facility by the end of the year.
Louie Bonaguidi is the mayor of Gallup. He hasn’t been in office that long, but has had his hands full being the mayor of the city of about 22,000 people since he started his term earlier this year.
“I have been in office exactly 90 days and in the 90 days it seems like the whole world has turned upside down,” said Bonaguidi. “We got a virus we don’t know how to handle, the economy has been tanked, our tourism in Gallup is gone.”
The city’s bad luck doesn’t end there. Marathon Petroleum, which owns the oil refinery, and employs about 230 people, just informed their employees last Friday, they’re planning on closing the facility permanently.
Bonaguidi said the abrupt closure is devastating considering the refinery has been around for 65 years. “It’s going to have an effect on us,” said Bonaguidi. “It’s going to affect the housing market for sure. But it’s going to affect all the businesses too.”
A spokesperson with Marathon Petroleum sent KRQE a statement about the closure that said in part:
The decision to indefinitely idle the Gallup Refinery and terminal is based on the company’s ongoing assessment of our operating costs and the competitive position of our assets, as well as our continued evaluation of the broader economic and financial impacts of COVID-19. The Gallup refinery and terminal will be idled indefinitely with no plans to restart normal operations. There are approximately 220 employees at the refinery. Indefinite idling unfortunately means most jobs at these refineries will no longer be necessary, and we expect to begin a phased reduction of staffing levels in October. Generally, employees who are laid off will receive severance and outplacement assistance, in accordance with our severance plan. For represented employees, certain details related to separations and severance are subject to bargaining and will be addressed in coming weeks.
News 13 reached out to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association. They said they couldn’t comment on how the closure will impact the state’s gas and oil industry but said with the closure, New Mexico is now down to only one oil refinery in the state, in Artesia.