01 December 2011 21:41 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based refiner Sunoco is permanently shutting down the main processing units of its Marcus Hook refinery in Pennsylvania, because of weakening conditions in the fuel market, the company said on Thursday.
Sunoco expects to begin shutting down the entire 178,000 bbl/day refinery immediately while it looks for buyers, the company said. Sunoco may also consider other uses for the facility with third parties.
For example, the refinery could be converted into a terminal or an ethylene plant.
Initially, Sunoco had planned to idle the main units by July 2012 if it could not find a seller.
However, the company had left open the option of idling the units sooner.
“Market conditions have deteriorated significantly and the outlook for both motor fuel demand and refining margins remains weak,” according to a statement by Lynn Elsenhans, Sunoco chief executive.
”Our retail and logistics businesses are performing well, but given the negative realities of the northeast refining marketplace, we need to accelerate the timeline for idling our Marcus Hook processing units," Elsenhans said.
The idling of the refinery is part of a larger plan of exiting the refining industry.
Sunoco also owns a 335,000 bbl/day refinery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
For that refinery, Sunoco actually plans to increase the utilisation rate, it said. However, if it cannot reach a deal to sell that refinery, the company will also permanently shut down its main processing units by July 2012.
Once Sunoco exits the refining business, it will be mainly a fuel distributor and retailer.
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