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Sunoco, Carlyle discuss JV for refinery

Discussions have begun that might keep Sunoco Inc.’s 330,000 b/d Philadelphia refinery, considered pivotal to East Coast product supply, from closing in July.

Sunoco, which is exiting the refining business, said it has entered exclusive discussions with the Carlyle Group about a joint venture that would keep the refinery in business.

Sunoco would contribute the refinery assets in exchange for a nonoperating minority interest in the joint venture and be relieved of ongoing capital obligations related to the facility.

Carlyle, a global alternative asset manager, would contribute cash, hold majority interest, and oversee day-to-day operations of the joint venture and refinery.

Sunoco has been seeking a buyer for the refinery, its last, and said it would close the facility if one were not found by July (OGJ Online, Dec. 2, 2011).

The Energy Information Administration in February warned of market strains likely to result from the refinery’s closure, which would follow shutdowns of other refineries crucial to East Coast supply and come as requirements took effect in New York for ultralow-sulfur heating oil (OGJ Online, Feb. 28, 2012).

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