UpdateImperial Oil confirms Sarnia base oil exit

04 February 2010 21:02  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds updates throughout)

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Imperial Oil confirmed on Thursday it would quit making base oils, process oils and wax at its Sarnia, Ontario, refinery in Canada in 2011.

“Following a comprehensive, strategic review, Imperial Oil has decided to discontinue making base oils, process oils and wax,” Imperial spokesman Jon Harding said. “The transition should take place by mid-2011.”

Imperial Oil is an affiliate of ExxonMobil and has capacity to produce 2,800 bbl/day of Group I base oils and 3,800 bbl/day of Group II base oils at its Sarnia facility. It also can produce 2,400 bbl/day at its Strathcona facility, also in Canada. The Strathcona facility will continue producing base oils.

The refiner said it is working in advance with its customers to ensure a smooth transition. It began sending out letters to customers on Wednesday.

The Sarnia plant will focus on full-time fuels manufacturing when it quits making base oils, process oils and waxes, the company said.

“This will improve long-term profitability of refinery operations and allow us to take advantage of opportunities to manufacture more fuel products such as ultra-low sulphur diesel oil,” Harding said.

Imperial Oil on Tuesday said that its fourth-quarter profit fell a worse-than-expected 19% as weak refining margins weighed on the bottom line. Net income was $534m (€384m) for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with $660m for the fourth quarter of 2008.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Heather McGuire Doyle
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