ConocoPhillips seeking buyer for Pa. refinery

ConocoPhillips is seeking a buyer for a Pennsylvania refinery and its associated pipelines and terminals, the company said this morning.

The company plans to idle the Trainer, Pa. refinery until a buyer is found and will permanently close the refinery if the company fails to find a prospective buyer.

“After exploring a wide range of alternatives for the refinery, the decision to sell is based on the level of investment required to remain competitive,” said Willie Chiang, senior vice president of Refining, Marketing, Transportation and Commercial. “U.S. East Coast refining has been under severe market pressure for several years.”

Chiang attributed the market pressure to the cost of product imports, weak gasoline demand and costly regulations. He added that selling the refinery was consistent with the company’s strategic objective to reduce its refining portfolio.

ConocoPhillips has already notified employees and contractors of the idling and potential closure of the refinery, and the company hopes to redeploy employees to other positions within the company.

Employees who are not redeployed will receive severance benefits and job placement services.

The company expects to recognize a non-cash asset impairment of approximately $300 million after tax in its third-quarter financial results.