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BP will sell its refineries in Texas City, Texas and in Carson, California as well as marketing properties in southern California, Arizona, and Nevada and hopes to complete the various sales by the end of 2012.

The move will halve the major’s U.S. refining presence. BP will concentrate on refining and marketing activities around its Whiting Indiana refinery; its Toledo refinery (in which it holds a 50% stake) and its Cherry Point, Washington refinery. The plants not being shopped on the market all have greater flexibility in crude input, and are able to maximize diesel yields, the major said.

BP said it has already seen interest from potential buyers in the Texas City refinery, which has a 475,000 b/d capacity and is the third largest plant in the U.S. Many mergers & acquisitions specialists have long thought that BP would sell the plant, which was the site of an explosion and multiple deaths in spring 2005.

The 265,000 b/d Carson refinery serves much of the ARCO brand in the region.
BP will divest the ARCO brand, with the exception of retaining branding rights in northern California, Oregon, and Washington and will also retain ownership of the ampm brand.

Sources believe that the most logical buyers for the BP refineries will come from offshore or from the private investment community.

A BP refining executive today told reporters in London that it expects the refining assets to fetch more than $3.7-billion, based on a recent Petrochina/Ineos deal that established a benchmark price of $5,000 per thousand b/d of refining capacity.

– Tom Kloza,