Imperial Oil looking at options for Dartmouth, NS, refinery

By OGJ editors

Imperial Oil Ltd. said it is evaluating the future of its Dartmouth, NS, refinery. The company said over the next few months it plans to put the refinery and related supply terminals on the market for prospective buyers. It will also consider converting it to a terminal, among other options.

“We hope to make a decision about the sale or other alternatives by first-quarter 2013 depending on the response to marketing efforts,” said Bruce March, Imperial Oil chairman, president, and chief executive officer.

The Dartmouth refinery operates in the “highly competitive Atlantic Basin,” which sees extensive global competition, the company said. Demand for refined products in the basin has declined in recent years, and the refinery has “not met expected financial returns.”

With production beginning in 1918, the refinery currently has throughput capacity of about 88,000 b/d and employs about 200 employees and 200 contractors there and at related terminals. Those terminals operate at Dartmouth; Sydney, NS; Corner Brook, Newf.; Sept-Iles, Que.; and Cap aux Meules in the Magdalen Islands.

It produces a wide range of petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating fuel, marine fuel, heavy fuel oil, and asphalt.

March said, “This is a difficult decision…. We recognize the refinery’s long history of supplying customers in this region and we know that these jobs are important to the community.”

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