Power crisis forces Kern County refinery into bankruptcy

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Posted at 10:58 a.m. PDT Wednesday, April 25, 2001, in the Contra Costa Newspapers

Power crisis forces Kern County refinery into bankruptcy ASSOCIATED PRESS --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OILDALE, Calif. -- The latest victim of the state's energy crisis is Golden Bear Oil Specialties Inc., which filed for bankruptcy protection Monday because its Oildale refinery could not pay its bills.

By filing for Chapter 11 protection, the company can continue to operate under a judge's supervision while it reorganizes its debts. Golden Bear manufactures asphalt and other crude oil-based products in Kern County.

In March, the company trimmed its labor force by 31, which left it with about 150 employees, said Greg Trzaska, vice president of manufacturing.

Golden Bear's layoffs are attributed to the shutdown of its main power source, nearby United American Energy, a co-generation plant that supplied steam and helped power about 90 percent of Golden Bear's operations.

The United officials said because Pacific Gas & Electric Co. hasn't paid its bills for nearly three months, the company was forced to shut down. PG&E filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

Contributing to Golden Bear's woes, the company's natural gas prices rose 500 percent between July 2000 and March 2001, the company said.

Golden Bear said its existing lenders have agreed to provide it $3.5 million in interim financing. The company also is looking for a buyer.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 25, 2001


Yow, the dominoes are picking up speed!

-- Guy Daley (guydaley@altavista.com), April 26, 2001.

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