ARCO Station Owners Alerted to Impending Tesoro Change

May take possession of BP's Carson, Calif., refinery, retail network as early as June 1

CARSON, Calif. -- Independent western U.S. refiner Tesoro Corp. may take ownership of BP Plc's 240,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Carson, Calif., refinery, 800-station retail network and distribution and storage assets as early as June 1, sources familiar with the transaction said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

When the $2.5 billion sale is complete, Tesoro will become the second-largest refiner in California, the nation's largest gasoline market, said the report.

BP's U.S. downstream operation will then be solely focused on refineries in the northern continental United States, where cheaper Canadian crude oil is easily obtained, it said.

In recent days, owners of BP's ARCO-branded retail stations in California have been notified to expect the change to Tesoro as early as the first day of June.

"June 1, that's the date for Tesoro to take over," one of the sources said.

A BP spokesperson declined to discuss the transaction with CSP Daily News.

The deal was first announced in August 2012 and has been awaiting approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the California attorney general's office.

A Tesoro spokesperson also declined to discuss the status of the deal. "As previously communicated, we expect the transaction to close before mid-2013," Tina Barbee told the news agency. "We do not have additional details to share at this time."

An FTC spokesperson declined on Thursday to discuss with Reuters the status of the commission's review of the transaction. On May 2, Tesoro CEO Greg Goff said the company was near the end of the regulatory review process.

A spokesperson for California Attorney General Kamala Harris did not have an immediate comment about the pending sale, said the report.

In addition to the refinery and retail network, the sale includes more than 100 miles of pipeline, three marine terminals, four land storage terminals and four product marketing terminals.

Tesoro plans to sell the distribution and storage assets to its master limited partnership, Tesoro Logistics LP, for about $1 billion, within a year of closing.

Tesoro plans to combine operations of the Carson refinery with its 103,800-bpd Wilmington, Calif., refinery. The two refineries nearly abut one another in the Los Angeles industrial suburbs north of the port of Long Beach.

San Antonio-based Tesoro is an independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products. Tesoro, through its subsidiaries, operates seven refineries in the western United States with a combined capacity of approximately 675,000 barrels per day. Tesoro's retail-marketing system includes nearly 1,390 branded retail stations, of which more than 595 are company operated under the Tesoro, Shell and USA Gasoline brands.