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Conoco, Murphy to Sell, Convert European Oil Refineries

ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, and Murphy Oil Corp. plan to sell refineries in Europe or convert them into terminals as profits shrink and demand wanes for fuels such as gasoline.

The latest announcements bring the number of plants in Europe to at least 12 that are for sale, been idled, or will be converted into terminals, with a total capacity of 1.85 million barrels of oil a day. That compares with 11 in the Americas, with a combined daily oil-processing capacity of 1.23 million barrels.

ConocoPhillips shelved plans to upgrade its 260,000 barrel-a-day Wilhelmshaven plant in Germany, forcing it to write off about $1 billion in its second-quarter earnings, the Houston- based company said in a July 22 statement.

ConocoPhillips and Murphy Oil join refiners including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, and Petroplus Holdings AG in closing or converting plants, particularly in Europe, as they seek to reduce overcapacity amid falling demand for oil-products.

Murphy Oil plans to exit refining to focus on its upstream and retail businesses, the Arkansas-based company said on July 22. The newly-upgraded 130,000 barrel-a-day Milford Haven plant in Wales, the 125,000 barrel-a-day Meraux facility in Louisiana and the 35,000 barrel-a-day Superior site in Wisconsin will be put up for sale, it said.

Refining margins, or the profit from turning crude oil into fuels, in northwest Europe fell to an estimated average of $2.55 a barrel this quarter to July 22, according to data by BP Plc. That compares with $3.84 in the second quarter and $2.60 in the third quarter of last year.

ConocoPhillips bought the German plant from Louis Dreyfus Energy Holdings Ltd. in 2005 for an undisclosed price. Murphy Oil paid $250 million in 2007 for Total’s 70 percent stake in the Welsh refinery.

The following table lists refineries around the world that have shut, are slated for permanent closure or conversion, and units idled for economic reasons. Capacity is in thousands of barrels of oil a day.

Company      Refinery         Status                 Capacity


Conoco Wilhelmshaven Up for sale 260 Germany or conversion. Announced July 22. Murphy Oil Milford Haven Up for sale. 130 Wales Announced July 22. Total Lindsey Up for sale. CEO 221 U.K. announced on French radio in April 2010. Petroplus Reichstett Review for possible 85 France sale. Announced April 1. Total Dunkirk Conversion to 137 France terminal. Announced in March 2010. Chevron Pembroke Up for sale. 210 U.K. Announced in March 2010. Petroplus Teesside Conversion to 117 U.K. terminal end-2009. Shell Gothenburg Review for possible 78 Sweden sale announced in December 2009. Total Gonfreville Crude unit shut in 173 France August 2009. Shell Stanlow Up for sale. 233 U.K. Announced in August 2009. Talks with Essar Oil failed. Shell Hamburg Up for sale. 110 Germany Announced in March 2009. Exclusive talks with Essar Oil failed. Shell Heide Up for sale. Talks 91 Germany with Essar failed.


Valero Paulsboro Possible sale 166 New Jersey company said on July 27. Murphy Oil Meraux Up for sale. 125 Louisiana Announced July 22. Superior Up for sale. 35 Wisconsin Announced July 22. Valero Delaware City Sold to Petroplus 190 Delaware in April 2010. Chevron Kapolei Operations may be 54 Hawaii reduced, company announced in March 2010. Sunoco Eagle Point Shut on poor 150 New Jersey economics in November 2009. Possible conversion to biofuels announced in February 2010. Big West Bakersfield Shut in January 2009 68 California after Big West went bankrupt. Alon bought the plant in February 2010 and plans to process vacuum gasoil into gasoline and diesel. Western Bloomfield Shut in late 2009 on 17 New Mexico poor economics. Possible conversion to biofuels plant announced in December 2009. Valero Corpus Christi FCC shut on economics 20 East, Texas in March 2009. Valero Aruba Shut in July 2009 275 on poor economics. Under review for possible sale. Shell Montreal Conversion to 130 Canada terminal in November 2010 if talks with Delek fail.


Shell Marsden Pt Shell sells 17% 109 New Zealand share to Infratil and government pension fund in March 2010. Showa Shell Keihin Permanent closure 120 Japan of Ogimachi crude unit in September 2011. *JX Holdings Negishi Permanent closure 70 Japan of a crude unit in October 2010. *JX Holdings Mizushima Permanent closure 110 Japan of crude unit 2 in June 2010. *JX Holdings Oita Permanent closure 24 Japan of crude unit 1 in May 2010. Nihonkai Oil Toyama Conversion to 60 Japan terminal in March 2009. CPC Corp. Kaohsiung FCC shut on 25 Taiwan economics in February 2009. *JX Holdings Inc. is the parent company of JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp., Japan’s largest refiner, and was formed in April 2010 after the merger of Nippon Oil Corp. and Nippon Mining Holdings Inc.

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