Imperial to close Nova Scotia refinery, convert it to terminal

TORONTO, June 19 Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:47am EDT

TORONTO, June 19 (Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd said on Wednesday that it was unable to find a buyer for its refinery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and will instead convert the facility into a terminal operation.

Canada's largest oil refiner will take a non-cash charge of C$260 million to C$280 million in the second quarter related to closing the refinery.

The refinery, which employs some 400 staff and contractors, is Imperial's least-profitable operation, as it uses high-priced imported crude oil. The company's other three refineries process cheaper Canadian crude.

Imperial, controlled by Exxon Mobil Corp, put the refinery up for sale more than a year ago and has had interested parties but was not able to make a deal.

"The results of the marketing effort illustrate the challenges of operating a refinery of Dartmouth's scale in the competitive conditions of the Atlantic Basin market," Imperial Chief Executive Rich Kruger said in a statement.

The refinery, the only one in Nova Scotia, is among several on both sides of the Atlantic that operators have put up for sale, shut down, or threatened to close due to poor economics.