Phillips 66, Murphy Oil give up trying to sell British Isles refineries

|About: Phillips 66 (PSX)|By:, SA News Editor

Phillips 66 (PSX +0.5%) says it is giving up its search for a buyer for its Whitegate refinery in Ireland - the only fuel-making plant on the island - after nearly a year of shopping.

European refineries are struggling because fuel demand in the region is down amid a sluggish economy, plus there’s increasing competition from plants in the Middle East, Asia and even the U.S.

PSX will maintain its 71K bbl/day refinery to meet existing customer contracts even though it doesn’t have the benefit of the company’s 11 plants in the U.S. with nearby cheap crude oil from North Dakota and Texas.

At the same time, Murphy Oil (MUR +0.8%) warns it may shut or seek other alternatives for its Milford Haven refinery in Wales after talks with a potential buyer fell through; MUR has spent three years trying to unload the plant.

Milford Haven is one of just seven remaining oil refineries in the U.K., which had 18 refineries in the 1970s.