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Sunoco to idle processing units at Marcus Hook, Pa., refinery

Citing deteriorating refining market conditions, Philadelphia refiner and marketer Sunoco Inc. reported it will idle “indefinitely” the main processing units at its 175,000-b/d Marcus Hook, Pa., refinery. While it will idle the facility immediately, the company continues to seek out a buyer and will also pursue options with third parties for alternate uses of the facility.

Meanwhile, Sunoco said it intends to “increase the capacity utilization rate of its Philadelphia refinery and will continue to operate the refinery as long as market conditions warrant.” However, it noted that “if a suitable sales transaction cannot be implemented, the company intends to permanently idle the main processing units at the Philadelphia refinery no later than July 2012.”

Lynn L. Elsenhans, Sunoco chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Market conditions have deteriorated significantly and the outlook for both motor fuel demand and refining margins remains weak. Our retail and logistics businesses are performing well, but given the negative realities of the Northeast refining marketplace, we need to accelerate the timeline for idling our Marcus Hook processing units.”

Sunoco said it will redeploy salaried Marcus Hook refinery employees to other positions within the company where possible. Salaried employees who are not redeployed are eligible for severance benefits and job placement services, it said. The company will enter into effects bargaining with union officials regarding idling the facility.

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