Irving Oil must divest terminals in Maine: FTC

Thu May 26, 2011 2:43pm EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Irving Oil should give up its rights to certain terminal and pipeline assets in Maine acquired from Exxon Mobil, the Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday.

The FTC said this would maintain competition in gasoline and distillate terminal services in the South Portland and Bangor and Penobscot Bay areas.

"The proposed settlement resolves the FTC's charges that the acquisition is anti-competitive and could result in higher gasoline and diesel prices for consumers," the agency said.

Under the original transaction, privately held Irving would have acquired Exxon's terminals in South Portland and Bangor as well as the pipeline connecting the two terminals.

The agency said its proposed settlement requires Irving to give up its acquisition rights to Exxon's Bangor terminal and pipeline as well as 50 percent of Exxon's South Portland terminal to Buckeye Partners, L.P. and its affiliate Buckeye Pipe Line Holdings, L.P.

The proposed order allows Irving to participate in a joint venture with Buckeye created to acquire Exxon South Portland terminal.

Irving must also notify the FTC before it acquires any additional ownership interests in any petroleum products transportation or storage facilities in Maine.

The FTC will decide whether to make the proposed settlement order final after it has been open to public comment for 30 days.

"We continue to closely monitor deals in the energy sector to ensure that consumers of petroleum products are served by competitive markets," said Richard Feinstein, director of FTC's Bureau of Competition.

"We expect the relief obtained here to accomplish that goal and protect consumers from higher gas prices," he said.

(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio)