Private-equity sale could signal trouble ahead for some refiners

|By:, SA News Editor

"The real problem for small inland North American oil refiners is that the improvements to continental oil distribution networks are cutting away their advantage on feedstock prices," Reuters says, in an attempt to explain ACON and TPG's partial sale of their controlling stake in the general partner of Northern Tier Energy (NTI -2.2%).

Because NTI is "well-positioned to profit from anticipated dislocations in North American oil prices," speculation is that the private-equity divestiture says something about how likely such dislocations are to return and how tough the fight will be going forward for small, inland oil refineries if they do not.

Other inland refiners: CVI -2.3%, WNR -0.4%, HFC -1.1%

More on inland refiners and the Brent-WTI spread here.