Valero In Talks To Sell Delaware Refinery

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DOVER, Del. (AP) – Valero Energy Corp. said Friday that it is in advanced negotiations to sell the assets of a Delaware oil refinery it is shutting down.

The company is engaged in talks with Greenwich, Conn.-based PBF Investments LLC regarding Valero’s shipping terminal at the Delaware City refinery and equipment from discontinued refinery operations.

San Antonio, Texas-based Valero announced in November that it was halting operations at the refinery and laying off 550 workers. Valero agreed not to remove process equipment while negotiations are under way.

“We are hopeful that a deal will come soon,” said Valero spokesman Bill Day.

PBF is the investment arm of a partnership formed in 2008 by Petroplus Holdings AG, the Blackstone Group, and private equity firm First Reserve to acquire crude oil refineries in the United States. Petroplus is the largest independent refiner and wholesaler of petroleum products in Europe, operating six refineries with a combined capacity of about 752,000 barrels per day.

Through a spokeswoman, PBF chairman and CEO Thomas O’Malley declined to comment on the Valero negotiations.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has been working with state economic development officials to try to find a new owner for the refinery site.

“We have worked very closely with Gov. Markell, who has been instrumental in furthering these negotiations,” said Valero chairman and CEO Bill Klesse.

In his State of the State speech Thursday, Markell compared efforts to maintain activity at the refinery site to the state’s success in attracting Fisker Automotive to a shuttered General Motors plant in Wilmington, where Fisker plans to build electric vehicles.

“We did not give up on you and your colleagues, and we will not give up on Valero either,” Markell told representatives of the United Auto Workers.

Brian Selander, a spokesman for Markell, declined to comment Friday on the refinery site negotiations.

“It’s our policy not to discuss specific economic development initiatives while they are ongoing,” he said.

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