Chevron Canada Ltd. is testing the waters to see if anyone is interested in buying the company’s refining and marketing assets, which means the Burnaby refinery could be up for sale.
Chevron spokesperson Adrien Byrne confirmed the news with the NOW.
“Chevron Canada Ltd. has made a decision to solicit expressions of interest to purchase our refining and marketing assets,” he said. “It’s really scoping (out) the market interest in the assets.”
Those assets include the Burnaby refinery, which is the last large-scale refinery operating on the West Coast, processing 55,000 barrels of oil per day.
According to Byrne, Chevron is soliciting interested potential buyers for the Burnaby refinery, Chevron’s cardlock stations (where commercial vehicles fill up with fuel), Chevron gas stations and marine assets. The move doesn't neccessarily mean Chevron will sell the refinery; the company is just testing the market to see if there are any interested buyers.
“Indications of interest have been received for our refinery and marketing assets in the past, and acknowledging these are challenging times in our industry, Chevron Canada Ltd. needs to be open to the change in market conditions as they arrive,” Byrne said.
The call for expressions of interest hasn’t gone out yet.
When asked if Chevron would have anything left in B.C. if the gas stations and refinery were sold, Byrne said the company is holding on to its lubricants business.
Contractors and employees were notified of the company’s plan last week.
“During this process, we’ll continue to operate our business in a safe and reliable manner,” Byrne added.
Russ Day, president of Unifor Local 601, which represents the refinery workers, said workers were informed last week.
“They haven’t released much information at this point except that they are taking expressions of interest,” he said. “It’s really hard to know what to make of it.”
Day said the refinery has gone through this process before, and it can take up to two years to figure out if there’s a potential buyer and then no sale goes through.
“It could go one way or the other,” he said.
“With the challenges in the upstream oil market right now, some firms are selling assets to raise money. It’s kind of a symptom of that, of the downturn in the upstream industry,” Day said. “The price of oil is so low, the cost of recovering it isn’t as lucrative as it used to be.”
The only other B.C. refinery is in Prince George, owned by Husky, and it processes 12,000 barrels of oil.