Philadelphia Mayor James A. Young announced last week that he is president of an emerging independent energy company that intends to build an oil refinery in Winston County employing more than 5,000 by 2014.

Young and Community Development Partnership President David Vowell were in Winston County last week for a public meeting about the proposed refinery.

Winston County native Milton Hughes of Rowland Heights, Calif., is among the financial backers of the company, SNC Energy, which is currently negotiating the purchase of 300 acres in Winston County near the Neshoba line for the refinery, Young said.

SNC Energy is an emerging, independent energy company engaged in crude oil refining and wholesale marketing of refined petroleum products, according to its website, sncenergyms.com.

Young said the proposed refinery hinges on the land purchase.

An overview of the project, which is in the planning stage, was presented Thursday with Young, Vowell, Industrial Development Authority Chairman Stanley Salter and Winston County Economic Development Director Gerald Mills in attendance along with other officials, the mayor said.

Salter said he and Vowell were invited to the meeting by the mayor.

"We were told at the meeting there would be a refinery built and they were in the process of acquiring the property for the site," he said. " It was just discussed but no real details of exactly what, when and where were given."

No new oil refineries have been built in the U.S. since 1976 and government permitting can take years if not decades.

SNC Energy is embarking upon constructing the nation's newest, most modern, and "green" oil refinery, according to the web site.

The refinery will have a production capacity of 100,000 to 120,000 barrels of crude per day, the web site said.

Young said the project is the brainchild of three Winston County natives who have been successful in other states.

Thursday's meeting was hosted by Hughes, who owns CM Processing Inc. of Los Angeles, Calif., a credit card processing company, according to the company's website.

Young said Hughes and two other partners approached him about the refinery about two years ago.

"They wanted to do something at home," Young said. "They had made some contacts with some investors and they were looking to come home."

Young said the three came to him to give the project a Mississippi face since they all lived out of state.

"It came to a point where they were getting ready to move the project somewhere else and they came to me to give it grounding here," Young said, noting that he and Philadelphia resident Shaun Seales are the Mississippi connection to the project.

"The potential is really something that will help change the dynamics of our economic development here," Young said. "We had to attach ourselves to it to keep it from going to other parts of the state or somewhere else.

"Milton has been gone for 30 years and he passionately wants to do something for his city and county and that is the driver behind this project."

Young said the project would entail piping in crude.

"They are not talking about drilling," he said. "Within this 50-mile area, we have crude oil pipe lines that come from the coast running north and south. They are looking to pipeline the oil here. They will build up to 15 big storage tanks that can store upwards of one-half million gallons of crude or finished product. That's how big it is. It's going to affect the rail and the highway. They say piping it in is the most economical way to do it."

Young said the proposed project would have an economic impact on both Winston and Neshoba counties.

"I think it is going to be a great opportunity when it materializes for this area," he said. "People won't have to leave the county for employment.

"You'll have chemical engineers, you'll have mechanical engineers, scientists, and all these people who will actually have a reason to stay in Mississippi because of this project. Then there's also the indirect effect of jobs that can be created to support it from steel to pipe fitting."