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St. Paul Park refinery owner to add 60 jobs

Northern Tier Energy, the company that purchased the St. Paul Park refinery from Marathon Petroleum, said it plans to add around 60 jobs to its operations in south Washington County.

The new owner of the St. Paul Park refinery, SuperAmerica service stations and SuperMom's Bakery says it plans to add around 60 jobs to its operations in the area by the end of 2011.

A spokesperson for Northern Tier Energy, the company that last month acquired the 74,000-barrel-a-day oil refinery as the centerpiece of a deal with Marathon Petroleum Company, said the jobs will come in waves as the company establishes a corporate infrastructure of its own in south Washington County.

Marathon is providing transition assistance in areas such as finance and human resources, said Christine Carnicelli, a Northern Tier spokeswoman based in Connecticut, "until we can build our own infrastructure, which we are building."

Carnicelli said the transition period between Marathon and Northern Tier is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

"We will grow our plant slowly," she said. "You're not going to go from zero to 60 (jobs) overnight."

Northern Tier's plan came as welcome news to Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey, who was told of the plans at a recent meeting between company executives and officials from Cottage Grove and St. Paul Park.

"It's definitely a win," Bailey said.

Cottage Grove officials have made a concerted effort to lure more businesses to the city, and Bailey last week said city leaders were told at the meeting that Northern Tier was considering office space in Cottage Grove as a site for local offices in addition to those on the refinery site. That included the possibility of relocating SuperAmerica's corporate offices from Mendota Heights, Bailey said.

In an interview, Carnicelli would not confirm that the company is exploring the consolidation of Northern Tier offices in Cottage Grove. The company, she said, has not determined where offices would be located, or if the company would lease or build new office space.

"We just haven't made that decision yet," she said.

Such a move would represent a coup for Cottage Grove, which is often overlooked by corporate entities looking for office space while losing out to metro cities to the north and west.

"We would obviously love to be their ... home office," Bailey said.

The Cottage Grove Economic Development Authority could work with Northern Tier, Bailey said, by offering perks like land at a reduced price if the company meets job creation and salary criteria, similar to a deal reached with Werner Electric Supply that helped to lure the electric supplier to the city in 2007.