The Marathon Petroleum Kenai Refinery. (Photo provided by Marathon Petroleum)

The Marathon Petroleum Kenai Refinery. (Photo provided by Marathon Petroleum)

Marathon mulling sale of Kenai refinery

The company’s Kenai refinery employs about 250 full-time workers

Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s Kenai refinery could be changing hands, the company’s chief executive officer said Tuesday.

“Today we announce that we are pursuing strategic alternatives for the Kenai refinery, which could include a potential sale,” CEO Mike Hennigan said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Nov. 2.

Hennigan said that the company is in “advanced discussions with several parties” regarding the potential sale of the Nikiski refinery, which primarily processes Alaska domestic crude oil along with “limited” international crude oil to make gasoline, distillates, heavy fuel oil, asphalt and propane.

There are approximately 250 full-time employees at the Kenai Refinery, which has a crude oil capacity of around 68,000 barrels per calendar day, according to the company’s website.

During the call, Doug Leggett, an analyst with Bank of America, asked Hennigan what stage Marathon is at in that process. Hennigan said that while he does not usually announce something before it is official, the company is comfortable sharing the development now due to the nature of the discussions.

“With respect to Kenai … normally I’m not a big fan of announcing stuff until things are done or not as a general rule,” Hennigan said. “But in this particular case, we have done an analysis and the reason we disclose it now is we’re in pretty advanced discussions with several parties.”

The announcement comes as Marathon is pivoting some operations to be more climate friendly.

Marathon’s June publication titled “2021 Perspectives on Climate-Related Scenarios” outlines some of the ways the company is “challenging (itself) to be a leader in sustainable energy – to meet the needs of today while investing in an energy diverse future.”

Marathon has a stated goal of reducing its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions intensity 30% below 2014 levels by 2030. Emission intensity refers to the emission rate of a pollutant relative to the intensity of an activity or industrial production process.

The company also stopped crude oil processing at three refineries over the past year, one of which was converted to a renewable diesel facility and another of which is currently being converted.

Tuesday’s full earnings call can be accessed on Marathon’s website at marathonpetroleum.com/Investors/Events-and-Presentations.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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