Exclusive: U.S. approval of BP refinery sale to Tesoro seen imminent

Thu May 16, 2013 7:24pm EDT
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By Erwin Seba and Diane Bartz

HOUSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Independent western U.S. refiner Tesoro Corp (TSO.N: Quote) may take ownership of BP Plc's (BP.L: Quote) 240,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Carson, California, as early as June 1, sources familiar with the transaction said on Thursday.

Other sources told Reuters that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which assessed the deal to ensure that it complied with antitrust law, is prepared to approve the purchase within days.

That approval could come as early as Friday, said one source with knowledge of discussions between the company and the agency. It was not known if the FTC will place conditions on the deal's approval.

The sources could not speak for attribution, citing the need to protect business relationships. A BP spokesman declined to discuss the transaction.

Tesoro announced last August that it had agreed to buy BP's Carson plant for $2.5 billion. The proposed deal has been awaiting approval by the FTC and by California's attorney general.

The sale includes an 800-station retail network and distribution and storage assets.

Assuming the Carson refinery purchase is approved by the FTC without conditions, Tesoro would become the second-largest refiner in California after Chevron Corp (CVX.N: Quote). California is the largest gasoline market in the United States.

Adding the Carson refinery to Tesoro's other two California refineries would give Tesoro a combined crude oil throughput of 509,800 bpd, or 26 percent of the state's refining capacity, according to data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.   Continued...

A BP logo is seen at a petrol station in London May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth