ConocoPhillips gauges buying interest in Louisiana refinery

15 December 2011 17:22  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--ConocoPhillips is looking at whether to sell its its Alliance refinery in Louisiana, the US energy producer said on Thursday.

Company spokesman Rich Johnson said ConocoPhillips has retained Deutsche Bank to assist in soliciting potential interest in the 247,000 bbl/day refinery in Belle Chasse.

The refinery mainly processes light, low-sulphur crude oil from the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa, Johnson said.

“ConocoPhillips plans to continue operating the refinery as usual throughout the marketing process and no layoffs are planned,” Johnson said.

The marketing process is expected to take the next several months.

“A determination whether or not to go forward with the sale of the refinery will be made some time in 2012,” said Johnson.

Some market observers earlier said ConocoPhillips might put the Alliance refinery on the sales block primarily to help cover debt.

Analyst Dan Lippe with Petral Worldwide said the company could be looking to use cash from sales to reduce debt and improve its balance sheet after finishing its $3.8bn (€2.9bn) refinery modernisation project at its 362,000 bbl/day Wood River refinery in Illinois.

The company announced it would reduce its assets by $10bn–15bn during 2010-2012 at part of its plan to expand upstream exploration and production.

In late September, ConocoPhillips announced the shutdown and sale of its 185,000 bbl/day Trainer refinery in Pennsylvania. There have been no updates on the progress of the Pennsylvania refinery sale.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Sheena Martin
+1 713 525 2653

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