Tesoro in talks with prospective buyer for Kapolei plant

Tesoro in talks with prospective buyer for Kapolei plant

KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Even as it moves ahead with the shutdown of the state's largest refinery next month, Tesoro Corp. said it's still talking to potential buyers for its Kapolei plant.

Tesoro officials made the disclosure during a meeting held by the Hawaii Refinery Task Force on Wednesday.

The company, however, said it has no agreement at this point and said today that it is proceeding with its efforts to mothball the refinery.

"As we had announced, we are proceeding with plans to convert the refinery to a storage and distribution terminal and we remain on schedule to complete the shutdown process this month," company spokesman Lance Tanaka said in an email.

"During this time, we continue to actively market the assets for sale, however all discussions with potential buyers remain confidential."

The news provides a faint ray of  hope for the refinery's 200 employees who will lose their jobs in May.

But many in the local energy industry remain skeptical that the company will be able to sell the refinery, which will require tens of millions of dollars in upgrades to serve a market where gasoline demand has been stagnant.

Tesoro announced in January that it was shutting down the refinery, saying it was unable to find a buyer after a year-long search.

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