Delta bets on the Bakken

NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Delta Air Lines Inc plans to run cheaper domestic crude at its newly-acquired Trainer, Pennsylvania refinery to improve profits at the plant, becoming the latest U.S. company to cash in on the burgeoning shale oil boom.

After losing $63 million at the refinery in the fourth quarter, the Atlanta-based airline will receive its first crude shipments there from North Dakota’s Bakken shale in the first quarter, the company said during its earnings call Tuesday.

Delta’s subsidiary, Monroe Energy LLC, was forced to slow production at the 185,000 barrels-per-day plant in November and December after Hurricane Sandy damaged regional pipelines and terminals, leading to the losses, Paul Jacobson, the company’s senior vice president and chief financial officer said during the call.

However, the Trainer refinery will bounce back to a modest profit in the first quarter, Jacobson added.