Valero's Benicia refinery, shut down since last month because of equipment malfunctions, could be back online by mid-May, Benicia city officials and state regulators say.
Although the company won't provide a date that it plans to restart the Solano County facility, Benicia Fire Chief Josh Chadwick said Monday he estimates the refinery will be back online in the next three to four weeks.
Chadwick said a Solano County hazardous materials specialist assigned to Valero provided him with the estimated timetable. County officials did make the specialist available for comment.
The California Energy Commission said Monday that the Benicia refinery is one of three California crude oil processing facilities that the agency expects to be restarted over the next several weeks. Shutdowns at the refineries — including two in the Los Angeles area — have helped drive up the cost of gasoline statewide.
Valero powered down its Benicia facility on March 24 after failing to resolve malfunctions that led to the release of soot-laden smoke.