* Deal will make Tesoro second-largest Calif. refiner
* BP Arco station owners told sale could happen by June 1
* Antitrust approval could come as early as Friday -source
(Adds refining capacities, no comment from Calif. AG)
By Erwin Seba and Diane Bartz
HOUSTON/WASHINGTON, May 16 Independent western
U.S. refiner Tesoro Corp may take ownership of BP Plc's
240,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Carson,
California, as early as June 1, sources familiar with the
transaction said on Thursday.
Other sources told Reuters that the U.S. Federal Trade
Commission, which assessed the deal to ensure that it complied
with antitrust law, is prepared to approve the purchase within
That approval could come as early as Friday, said one source
with knowledge of discussions between the company and the
agency. It was not known if the FTC will place conditions on the
The sources could not speak for attribution, citing the need
to protect business relationships. A BP spokesman declined to
discuss the transaction.
Tesoro announced last August that it had agreed to buy BP's
Carson plant for $2.5 billion. The proposed deal has been
awaiting approval by the FTC and by California's attorney
The sale includes an 800-station retail network and
distribution and storage assets.
Assuming the Carson refinery purchase is approved by the FTC
without conditions, Tesoro would become the second-largest
refiner in California after Chevron Corp. California is
the largest gasoline market in the United States.
Adding the Carson refinery to Tesoro's other two California
refineries would give Tesoro a combined crude oil throughput of
509,800 bpd, or 26 percent of the state's refining capacity,
according to data published by the U.S. Energy Information
Chevron's two California refineries have a combined
throughout of 521,271 bpd, or 26.7 percent of the state's crude
oil refining capacity.
In recent days, owners of BP Arco-branded retail stations in
California have been told to expect a change to Tesoro as early
as the first day of June. "June 1, that's the date for Tesoro to
take over," one of the sources said.
Once the transaction is cleared, BP's U.S. downstream
operation will be solely focused on refineries in the northern
continental United States, where cheaper Canadian crude oil is
A Tesoro spokeswoman declined to discuss the status of the
"As previously communicated, we expect the transaction to
close before mid-2013," said Tina Barbee, who declined to
An FTC spokesman declined on Thursday to discuss the status
of the commission's review of the transaction. On May 2, Tesoro
Chief Executive Greg Goff said the company was near the end of
the regulatory review process.
A spokeswoman for California Attorney General Kamala Harris
declined to comment on the pending sale.
In addition to the refinery and retail network, the sale
includes more than 100 miles of pipeline, three marine
terminals, four land storage terminals and four product
Tesoro plans to sell the distribution and storage assets to
its master limited partnership, Tesoro Logistics LP,
for about $1 billion, within a year of closing.
Tesoro also intends to combine operations of the Carson
refinery with its 103,800 bpd refinery in Wilmington,
California. The two refineries nearly abut each other in the Los
Angeles industrial suburbs north of the port of Long Beach.
BP in 2011 announced plans to sell the Carson refinery as
well as its Texas City, Texas, refinery. Marathon Oil Corp
purchased the Texas refinery in February as part of a
$2.4 billion deal that includes terminals, pipelines and other
(Reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston and Diane Bartz in
Washington; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Tim Dobbyn, Matthew
Lewis and Steve Orlofsky)