NEW YORK, Sept 17 (Reuters) - South Korea's state-owned oil company has chosen Deutsche Bank to lead efforts to sell the Come-by-Chance refinery in Newfoundland, Canada, looking to get out of the beleaguered Atlantic Basin industry just four years after buying in, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The 115,000 barrels per day (bpd) plant appeared destined for the block since early this month, when chief executive of the Korean National Oil Corporation (KNOC) reportedly said the company had decided to divest some of its Harvest Operations Corp., its wholly-owned Canada-based subsidiary. He said at the time that KNOC had identified several potential buyers.
Harvest Energy spokeswoman Kari Sawatzky declined to talk about the refinery, but told the Journal that the company has been considering since last year what parts of the business -- which also includes upstream oil sands -- might be sold. She could not immediately be reached for further comment.
A handful of refineries on both sides of the Atlantic have been shuttered over the past five years due to declining fuel demand in the United States and Europe, rising crude oil costs and increased competition from newer, more sophisticated plants.
However, the rise of cheaper U.S. domestic shale oil production has helped revive the fortunes of some facilities. Located in the far northeast corner of Canada, Come-by-Chance is not ideally placed to tap into Texas or North Dakota crude, although it has begun importing some U.S. oil this year.
A sale, if one is made, could also affect Macquarie Group, which in 2011 won a multi-year "supply and offtake" contract to provide crude oil and ship refined fuel from the plant.
Built relatively recently in 1973, the Come-by-Chance plant has had a troubled history. It went bankrupt in 1976, then changed hands several times before being acquired in 1994 by global oil trader Vitol, which sold the plant to Harvest Energy for $1.6 billion in 2006. KNOC purchased Harvest three years later. (Reporting By Jonathan Leff; Editing by Diane Craft)
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