| NEW YORK, March 16
NEW YORK, March 16 Calumet Specialty Products
Partners has retained advisors for a potential sale of
its refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, according to two people
familiar with the matter.
The refinery is relatively small by the standards of U.S.
plants, with the ability to process 45,000 barrels of crude oil
per day. Still, a deal could fetch as much as $500 million,
according to one of the sources, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity as the talks are private.
Calumet has retained Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co to advise
on a possible transaction, the sources said.
They did not suggest who might buy the plant. A spokesman
for Calumet declined to comment immediately on the company's
plans for the plant.
Potential bidders may include Par Pacific Holdings Inc
, HollyFrontier and Suncor Energy,
according to two other people familiar with refinery
transactions. The companies did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
The refinery's location, which provides access to domestic
crude produced in North Dakota, could provide a cost advantage
relative to other refineries. The plant is supplied primarily by
crude carried through an Enbridge pipeline and railcars,
according to Calumet's website. The company bought the refinery
from Murphy Oil Corp in 2011 for just over $200 million.
The plant produces gasoline, diesel, asphalt and other
refined products. The refined fuels produced are distributed by
a Magellan pipeline as well as by tank trucks and railcars.
Last year, Calumet tried to bolster its balance sheet with a
$400 million secured note offering.
Calumet has been shedding assets not related to producing
specialty chemicals products. It already has sold its stake in
the Dakota Prairie refinery joint venture.
The company has increased volumes of Canadian crude at its
refineries to try to boost profit margins. "We remain focused on
continuing to run more heavy crude in our northern refineries,"
said Calumet Chief Executive Officer Timothy Go, who took the
helm a year ago.
Canadian sour grades of crude were significantly discounted
to benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude in 2016.
The company plans to upgrade the Superior refinery in 2017,
spending as much as $20 million for improvements that are
expected by the first half of 2018. The work is focused on
optimizing product yields and overall performance at the
refinery, Go said on a conference call with investors last
(Reporting by Ron Bousso in Houston and Jessica Resnick-Ault in
New York; Editing by Paul Simao)