UPDATE 1-Valero not seeking sale of California refineries - CEO

Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:30pm EDT

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March 19 (Reuters) - The head of Valero Energy Corp said on Monday his company is not pursuing a sale of its two California refineries, putting an end to months of speculation over whether the refining major was seeking buyers for the two plants.

"No, we're not," Valero Chief Executive Bill Klesse said on the sidelines of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers' conference in San Antonio, Texas.

"It didn't seem like the right thing for our shareholders," Klesse said, because "there aren't a lot of buyers." He also said "there's not a lot of value."

Valero's 132,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) San Francisco-area refinery in Benicia and 78,000 bpd Los-Angeles-area refinery in Wilmington had been rumored to be up for sale in light of a 2006 California emissions law that could cost the company hundreds of millions in upgrades.

Klesse had said during an earnings call in 2011 that "we're looking at our options" for the two refineries. An October report in The Wall Street Journal said Valero had hired investment bank Citigroup to find buyers for the plants.

Speaking to reporters in San Antonio on Monday, Klesse made clear no sales processes was in the works.

"There's nothing going on," he said.

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