NuStar Energy closes purchase of Age Refining assets in South Texas

Source: NuStar Energy

NuStar Energy L.P. (NYSE:NS) closed on its $41 million acquisition of certain refining and terminal assets of AGE Refining. The company purchased these assets from the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy trustee after receiving clearance from the bankruptcy court on April 14. 

“This relatively small transaction is a great acquisition for our investors, employees and community,” said Curt Anastasio, President and CEO of NuStar Energy L.P. and NuStar GP Holdings, LLC. “We can lock in guaranteed margins through the futures market for crude, distillates and gasoline-related products for the next three to four years. So we expect the refinery to generate attractive returns, and it is projected to be immediately accretive to our earnings and distributable cash flow.” 

The AGE refinery is a low-cost 14,500 barrel per day refinery based on the South Side of San Antonio, which has been operating near capacity since the March 9 completion of a state-of-the-art, seven-bay truck loading rack. The acquisition also includes a 200,000-barrel terminal in Elmendorf, Texas. 

The refinery purchases and processes crude oils and condensates from across South Texas, including the rapidly developing Eagle Ford Shale. It produces and sells various products, including jet fuels, ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), naphtha, reformates, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), specialty solvents and other highly specialized fuels, to commercial and retail customers and the U.S. military. 

“The refinery’s proximity to the Eagle Ford Shale is big plus,” said Anastasio. “The light crude oil that is coming out of the Eagle Ford Shale is well-suited to the refinery and it is in our backyard so our transportation costs are low. We expect this will provide a significant economic benefit because we’re able to take advantage of these lower cost South Texas sweet crudes and realize transportation cost savings which will enhance the refinery’s profitability. 

“We are very excited about acquiring this refinery because it’s great news for our hometown of San Antonio. We are looking forward to investing in the refinery and working with the AGE employees to ensure the plant meets the highest standards for safety, environmental stewardship and reliability. We have a lot of refining expertise in-house and our employees have a strong record for safety and environmental excellence. So we are well-positioned to not only improve the plant’s operations, but also to maximize its profitability. 

“We are also looking forward to bringing aboard all of the employees. We think they’ll enjoy working for NuStar because when we make an acquisition we always invest more in the facilities, employees and the community than the previous owners. In fact, the AGE employees will realize immediate and substantial improvements in their combined compensation and benefits when they join our company,” said Anastasio. 

AGE had been in the midst of a court-supervised sales process since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 8, 2010. “Operating in bankruptcy for over a year has been a great challenge for the employees of AGE Refining and I applaud their perseverance,” said Eric Moeller, the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Trustee. 

“We are very pleased that a company of NuStar’s caliber has agreed to buy these assets. NuStar not only offered a good purchase price, but is a financially strong and growing company with the resources and expertise to invest in the refinery, run it safely and reliably, serve as a good neighbor, and provide the employees with outstanding compensation and benefits. NuStar also has a track record of taking care of all of the stakeholders when it makes an acquisition. This agreement represents a major milestone as we bring the bankruptcy to a positive conclusion for everyone involved,” Moeller said.

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