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CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- One of Wyoming's major oil refineries will lay off almost two-thirds of its workforce and undergo a major reworking in response to tough economic conditions.

Dallas-based HollyFrontier Corp. plans to lay off about 200 employees at the Cheyenne refinery over the next 18 months, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports.

The company plans to spend about $150 million to convert the refinery to produce renewable diesel fuel, or diesel made from agricultural byproducts.

High operating and capital costs, compounded by the effects of covid-19, forced the shift in refinery operations, HollyFrontier Chief Executive Officer Mike Jennings said in a statement Monday.

"We realize that this decision affects many employees, their families and the community," Jennings said. "Our goal and expectation is to continue to operate as a community partner in Cheyenne and Wyoming for years to come."

The refinery is among Cheyenne's biggest employers, whose ranks also include the U.S. Air Force, state government and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The refinery will employ about 80 people after its conversion, HollyFrontier spokesperson Liberty Swift said.

The announcement was "a gut punch" to Wyoming's capital city of 64,000 people, Mayor Marian Orr said.

Business on 06/03/2020

Print Headline: Oil refinery plans layoffs, big retooling

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