Whitegate oil refinery has been sold to Canadian company Irving Oil, writes Peter O’Dwyer, Irish Examiner Business Reporter.
The country’s sole refinery will remain operational and all staff will continue to be employed, according to its new owners.
The sale of the refinery comes after a protracted sales process and the expiration of an obligation on the facility’s previous owner Phillips 66 to operate the refinery until the end of July 2016.
“We are pleased to have signed an agreement to purchase the Whitegate refinery,” says Arthur Irving, Chairman of Irving Oil.
“It’s a good day for our company and we’re looking forward to welcoming the Whitegate team to Irving Oil.
Mr Irving’s comments were echoed by company President, Ian Whitcomb who acknowledged Whitegate’s importance to Ireland’s fuel supply.
“We are delighted to be pursuing an acquisition that feels so natural for us,” Mr Whitcomb said.
“The Whitegate refinery has a tremendous reputation as a vital and secure supplier to the Irish market, and we will uphold that commitment very proudly and very seriously.”
“As operators of Canada’s largest refinery, Irving Oil is a proud Atlantic Canadian company, family-owned and operated for close to a century,” says Sarah Irving, Executive Vice President of Irving Oil.
“Our history and role in supplying Atlantic Canada and the US northeast ensures we bring exceptional experience and commitment to the people of Whitegate and to customers across Ireland.”
The Irish Examiner reported in May that Irving were the frontrunners in the race to acquire the refinery, while others such as Inver, PTFPlusOne and Valero are understood to have been interested in the facility.
“On all fronts, we’ve been impressed by the Whitegate refinery and its people,” says Mark Sherman, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Irving Oil.
“The operational performance of Whitegate is strong, it has well established and diligent maintenance schedules and we are struck by the positive working environment seen amongst its people. In many respects, our refineries share common qualities and it’s one of the reasons we found this opportunity to be so compelling.”
The deal is expected to close by the end of Q3 2016.
A spokesperson for Irving Oil said it will share more information on the deal once it is completed.