Hundreds of people stood overnight in freezing temperatures and biting winds to pick up 3,000 applications for 30 jobs, but Sun Co. officials said 600 applications were unfilled by day's end.
"I think there was so much hype about it that some people were scared off. They expected 10,000 or 20,000 people in line," said Paul Durkin, a company spokesman.
Durkin said tickets for applications were distributed to 2,855 job seekers, but only 2,400 forms had been submitted by 4 p.m., when the company closed the gates at its complex in nearby Chester Township.
However, company officials said about 300 people had joined the queue before midnight Friday.
By 8 a.m., when the gates opened, some 1,500 people stood in a line that snaked down a roadway a half mile from the company's doors.
Many who waited through the early morning hours built small fires to fight the cold. Others wrapped themselves in heavy blankets and sleeping bags, sipping frequently from thermos bottles of steaming coffee and soup.
"It's kind of a commentary on the times to see that many people lined up for so few jobs," said Dolores Glass, a company spokeswoman.
The 30 openings were for apprentice refinery operators, paying $10.31 an hour to start, said David Hackney, a Sun spokesman.