US ConocoPhillips to close refinery if it fails to find buyer

27 September 2011 15:03  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--ConocoPhillips has begun the process of idling its 185,000 bbl/day refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania, and has decided to permanently close the facility in six months if it cannot find a buyer, the US-based energy major said on Tuesday.

ConocoPhillips' move is part of its plan to reduce its refining portfolio as it prepares to split its refining and marketing business from its exploration and production (E&P) business, creating two independent, publicly traded companies.

“After exploring a wide range of alternatives for the [Trainer] refinery, the decision to sell is based on the level of investment required to remain competitive,” said Willie Chiang, the company's senior vice-president of refining, marketing, transportation and commercial.

US east coast refining has been under severe market pressure for several years, Chiang said.

Product imports, weakness in motor fuel demand and costly regulatory requirements are key factors in “creating this very difficult environment”, he added.

Last month, ConocoPhillips agreed to sell its idled 260,000 bbl/day refinery at Wilhelmshaven, Germany, to Amsterdam-based midstream energy firm Hestya.

In related industry news on Tuesday, LyondellBasell said it plans to close its 105,000 bbl/day refinery at Berre L’Etang in France after failing to find a buyer.

Meanwhile in the US, Sunoco plans to exit its refining business. The company has begun the process to sell refineries in Philadelphia and in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. Those facilities could be converted into ethylene plants, according to officials.

For more on ConocoPhillips and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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