UPDATE 1-PBF in talks for Valero Paulsboro refinery -sources

Wed Sep 1, 2010 6:06pm EDT

* Valero declines to identify possible buyer

* PBF CEO has said co interested in Paulsboro plant

(Adds background, paragraphs 4-8)

HOUSTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - PBF Energy, which bought Valero Energy Corp's (VLO.N) Delaware City, Delaware, refinery in June, is negotiating to buy Valero's Paulsboro, New Jersey, refinery, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Both Valero and PBF's chief executives said in March that PBF might be interested in buying the Paulsboro refinery.

Valero, which has said negotiations are under way, declined to identify a counter-party in the talks. A PBF spokesman declined to say if it is negotiating to buy another refinery.

PBF is a $2-billion partnership between between Europe's largest independent refiner Petroplus Holdings AG PPHN.VX and private equity firms Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) and First Reserve, created to acquire U.S. refineries.

PBF is led by Petroplus Chairman Tom O'Malley, who built two U.S. independent refining companies, Tosco and Premcor, before moving to Petroplus, which grew quickly through acquisitions.

PBF paid $220 million for the 182,200 barrel per day (bpd) Delaware City refinery, which Valero shuttered in November as refining margins were crushed by poor demand in the recession.

The 185,000 bpd Paulsboro refinery would likely command a higher price because it is in operation.

Valero began weighing the refinery's future as competition from fuel imports to the U.S. Northeast began knocking down refining margins. Sunoco Inc SUN.N shut a New Jersey refinery in February and Western Refining (WNR.N) shut Virginia refinery last month. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by David Gregorio)

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