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Refinery Advisory Group

Informing City officials about the PES refinery and its future with the help of business, environmental, labor, and community leaders.


In June 2019, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery in South Philadelphia sustained a fire and explosion. PES later announced that it would close the facility.

The question: What will happen to the 1,300-acre site and the thousands of jobs there?

Mayor Kenney established the Refinery Advisory Group to bring together people with diverse experiences, knowledge, and perspectives on the refinery. While the site is privately owned, we must plan for a variety of possible outcomes.

The members of the Refinery Advisory Group will:

  • Consider how the closure of the PES facility will affect Philadelphia’s economy, environment, and public health and safety.
  • Share ideas for how the site can provide the best use and highest value, with an emphasis on options that are both economically feasible and positive for the city.
  • Gather feedback from the public and from various organizations to better inform City officials.


1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Timeline and updates

Nov. 26, 2019

The City released a report that summarizes the information collected through the various public meetings and comment process.

Sep. 24, 2019

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel announced that the City declared the refinery incident under control.

Sep. 9, 2019

The Business Committee hosted the Refinery Advisory Group’s fifth public meeting. See the meeting presentations, or watch the video.

Aug. 30, 2019

Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel announced that the neutralization of the largest quantity of hydrofluoric acid at the refinery site was completed—eliminating nearly 340,000 pounds of the chemical. Work to neutralize remaining dispersed amounts of hydrofluoric acid continues.

Aug. 27, 2019

The Environmental and Academic Committee hosted the Refinery Advisory Group’s fourth public meeting. See the meeting presentations and testimonies, or watch the video.

Aug. 21, 2019

The Labor Committee hosted the Refinery Advisory Group’s third public meeting. Watch the video.

Aug. 20, 2019

The Community Committee hosted the Refinery Advisory Group’s second public meeting. See the summary of feedback and an open letter and response related to the meeting. Watch a video of attendees sharing their opinions and statements.

Aug. 19, 2019

The City announced the addition of four people to the Refinery Advisory Group, doubling the Community Committee from four to eight members. This came after members of the public expressed a desire to see more of their neighbors and trusted community leaders in the group during the first public meeting.

Aug. 16, 2019

After starting the neutralization process the prior week, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel announced that about half of the hydrofluoric acid at the site has been neutralized.

Aug. 8, 2019

The neutralization process began for the remaining hydrofluoric acid at the site. Watch the press conference to hear Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel explain the process—one of the highest priorities for the incident management team.

Aug. 6, 2019

The Refinery Advisory Group held its first public meeting. This general meeting preceded the four topic-focused public sessions that would come in the weeks ahead. See the meeting presentation, or watch the video.

Aug. 2019

PES ended crude oil refining in the complex, continued efforts to stabilize the area near the original incident, and began to wind down operations.

July 31, 2019

City provided update on Refinery Advisory Group and announced public meeting schedule.

July 21, 2019

PES filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

June 26, 2019

PES announced it would close the refinery and sell the 1,300-acre site.

June 21, 2019

Explosions and a fire severely damaged the PES refinery complex. That same day, Mayor Kenney called for an advisory group to look into issues involving the refinery.


There are no upcoming events.