Houston-based company to purchase Tesoro Hawaii

Hawaii Independent Energy refinery, formerly Tesoro Hawaii, Kapolei

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In a meeting Monday, Tesoro workers learned a buyer from Texas stepped forward.

It was news, that Tesoro workers had been waiting a long time for. In a meeting today, they learned a buyer from Texas, has stepped forward.

“Morale is very, very low. I’m sure with today’s announcement it’s gone 180 and everybody’s very, very happy,” Tesoro Hawaii employee, Jason Skamoto said.

Par Petroleum has agreed to buy Tesoro Hawaii, which operates the 94,000 barrel a day refinery in Kapolei, retail stations and associated logistical assets.

It comes with a price tag of $75 million, plus the market value of net working capital, which is expected to be $225 million to $275 million. The union says, the estimated 200 workers there, will not lose their jobs. Their current contract runs through 2015, and protects them in this type of situation. Tesoro began handing out layoff notices two-weeks ago, but officials said they were still talking to potential buyers. Even though notices went out, no one was laid off.

“Very happy. We’re keeping good jobs in Hawaii,” Sakamoto said.

In a statement, Tesoro President and CEO Greg Goff said: “While the Hawaii operations do not align with our strategic focus, we believe they offer a great opportunity for Par Petroleum.” Others say, it means business will not be disrupted.

“And you know that Tesoro’s customers – Hawaiian Electric, the military, commercial airlines, jet fuel proponents, the major ones and of course, the 32 retail gas stations are going to continue to operate as we understand it,” Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa said.

Experts believe the sale will not likely affect prices at the pump at least not in the short-term future.

“Basically it’s not always cheaper to make your own stuff and we’re still buying crude and importing that,” East West Center executive director, Carl Bonham said.

While workers are relieved to hear the news, they’re keeping their guards up.

“It remains to be seen what this company will do with us and stuff and how well they’re going to treat us,” Sakamoto said.

Tesoro is expecting to seal the deal in the third quarter of this year.

The operation in Hawaii will be called Hawaii Pacific Energy, LLC.

Click here for Par Petroleum’s website.

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