Getty Petroleum Gets OK to Abandon Storage Tanks

Twenty-two USTs to be emptied and capped with court’s approval

NEW YORK -- A New York bankruptcy judge on Wednesday gave Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc. the go-ahead to abandon a series of fuel storage tanks at former operations in the Northeast, provided the company follows certain conditions intended to protect both people and the environment, according to a Law360 report.

Getty's official committee of unsecured creditors sought the court's permission to abandon the tanks--located at sites in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania--when it became clear that the Chapter 11 proceedings would result in liquidation rather than reorganization.

"The debtors have ceased ordinary course operations, have no use for the tanks and are now in the process of liquidating all of their assets," the committee said in its motion, according to the report.

Since the debtors have rejected substantially all of their leases, "including the majority of leases relating to the properties housing the tanks," the committee said, the tanks have no value and are now a burden on the various estates.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley C. Chapman signed off on the order, which lays out abandonment procedures for the tanks and details how the court will be kept informed of the process.

For 18 of the 22 tanks, those procedures require that they be emptied, capped and have any fuel lines or connections removed. The four tanks located at a former Getty operation in Staten Island, N.Y., must be treated with greater care.

Getty and its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 in December hoping to strengthen their operations and improve their ability to undertake environmental cleanup following an arbitration ruling against them in a dispute with an ethanol fuel company.

The creditors committee filed an amended Chapter 11 plan and disclosure statement in May calling for the liquidation of the company.

Getty, along with Gasway Inc., Getty Terminals Corp. and PT Petro Corp., listed between $50 million and $100 million in both assets and liabilities in its original petition.