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Exxon Agrees to Sell Montana Refinery

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ExxonMobil has agreed to sell its Billings, Montana, refinery and related pipeline properties to Par Pacific Holdings Inc for $310 million.

The sale ends a years-long effort by the US oil giant to further reduce its refining footprint and concentrate production on plants along the US Gulf Coast and in the Midwest. It has also been selling oil producing properties to boost returns.

Karen McKee, the head of the oil company’s product solutions unit, said: “ExxonMobil is focused on investing in facilities where we can manufacture higher-value products such as lubricants and chemicals.”

The deal for the 63,000-barrel-per-day refinery is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023, Exxon said in a statement.

Par Pacific was one of several independent refiners eying the plant and looking to invest some of this year’s record refining profits to expand its assets, according to people familiar with the matter.

Profit margins for processing crude into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel hit five-year highs in the US earlier this year, helping the sales appeal. Rising travel and fewer refineries from pandemic-shutdowns have pushed the average US gasoline retail price to $3.84 a gallon in the week beginning October 24, up from $3.36 a year ago.

Included in the sale are the Silvertip Pipeline, Exxon’s interests in the Yellowstone Pipeline and Yellowstone Energy LP and its interests in products terminals in Montana and Washington.

William Pate, Par Pacific chief executive officer, said: “This acquisition expands our fully integrated downstream network in the western United States.”

Since 2013, Houston-based Par Pacific has purchased refineries in Hawaii, Wyoming and Tacoma, Washington.

Par Pacific shares jumped 8.7 percent to $21.62 on Thursday October 20, their highest level in two and a half years.

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