Exxon selling Montana oil refinery to Par Pacific for $310 MM

(Reuters) - ExxonMobil Corp agreed to sell its Billings, Montana, refinery and related pipeline properties to Par Pacific Holdings Inc for $310 MM.

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

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

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 United States earlier this year, helping the sales appeal. Rising travel and fewer refineries from pandemic-shutdowns have pushed the average U.S. gasoline retail price to $3.84 a gallon this week, up from $3.36 a year ago.

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

Under the deal, Par Pacific will continue supplying fuel to Exxon and Mobil-branded stations in the region.

Exxon put the Billings facility on the market under a plan to reduce its U.S. refining footprint to three Gulf Coast refineries - in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Baytown and Beaumont, Texas - and a 251,800 bpd refinery in Joliet, Illinois.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Paul Simao)

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