The National Cooperative Refinery Association (NCRA) and Farmland Industries announced today they would end their year-old Cooperative Refining, LLC, joint venture on December 31, 2000.

“As we reviewed results of a year of joint operation, and considered the significant decisions the respective owners will need to make regarding their own refineries, we concluded that it was in the best interest of our cooperative member-owners that we dissolve the LLC,” said Leon Westbrock, chairman of the Cooperative Refining board of directors.

Cooperative Refining was formed Sept. 1, 1999 and resulted in joint management of Farmland’s 95,000 barrel-per-day refinery at Coffeyville, Kan., and NCRA’s 80,000 barrel-per-day refinery at McPherson, Kan., as well as pipelines and terminals related to the refineries. The joint venture has focused on such areas as crude oil procurement, distribution and scheduling.

Physical ownership of the refineries and related assets remained with the two parent organizations. NCRA is owned by Cenex Harvest States Cooperatives (CHS) of St. Paul, Minn.; GROWMARK, Inc., of Bloomington, Ill., and MFA Oil of Columbia, Mo.

The owners of both refineries are evaluating the impact of pending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that will require refiners to significantly reduce sulfur content in the fuels they produce.

“Because the refineries are owned separately by NCRA and Farmland, it’s in the best interest of their member-owners that these cooperatives can make decisions regarding regulatory investments independent of the impact on a joint venture,” Westbrock said.

The joint venture participants said they would continue to communicate and are open to identifying ways the two refinery operations can work together on specific issues to benefit their member-owners.

The end of the joint venture will have minimal impact on employees and customers of the two refineries. Customers of Country Energy, LLC — the CHS and Farmland energy sales, supply and marketing joint venture — will continue to be supplied by both refineries as best meets their needs.