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Irving Oil weighing its options, including the possible sale of its assets

Irving Oil says it’s undertaking a “strategic review” with an eye on a possible sale.

In a release Wednesday, the company says it’s looking at several options for the future, which includes the sale of its assets.

“No decisions have been made about where this strategic review may lead,” the company said in the release. “Consideration will be given to a new ownership structure, a full or partial sale, or a change in the portfolio of our assets and how we operate them.”

Founded in 1924, Irving Oil operates Canada's largest refinery in Saint John, N.B., along with more than 900 gas stations and distribution terminals spanning Eastern Canada and New England.

According to the company’s website, the Saint John Refinery has a workforce of over 1,600 people and a capacity to refine more than 320,000 barrels of oil daily. The facility first opened in 1960 on a 780-acre site.

The company produces gasoline, diesel, heating oil, jet fuel, propane and asphalt. More than half of the finished products are exported to the northeast U.S.

Dan McTeague, the president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, says from a consumer point of view, he’s hoping federal government policies are not at play here.

“I can’t believe they’re not, given that all of Atlantic provinces joined together to push back on the so-called second carbon tax,” McTeague told CTV from his home in Milton, Ont.

“I hope this doesn’t have to be an economic message sent to those carrying a political message.”

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said he’s trying to remain optimistic, but he’s troubled by Irving Oil’s review.

“I am very concerned about the rules and regulations that are being imposed upon this business at a time when we are trying to manage commodity pricing, people’s cost of living,” the premier said Wednesday.

“And, the sad part about all this is if this industry, through our own devices, through our own federal rules, is forced to make changes in its operation, well, you know what happens. The same commodity will be purchased overseas.”

Irving Oil also operates Ireland's only refinery, located in the village of Whitegate in County Cork.

The Whitegate Refinery employs over 200 people and has a crude capacity of up to 75,000 barrels a day.

Whitegate originally opened in 1959 and processes light, low-sulphur crude oil from the North Sea and West Africa.

It produces transportation and heating fuels such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene for the Irish and European markets.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the refinery in New Brunswick is valued at USD $2 billion, while Irving’s refinery in Ireland is valued at $186-million.

In 2019, Irving Oil acquired Ireland’s Top Oil, a supplier of home heating oil, petrol and diesel fuel.

The company established its European operations in 2014 with an office in London, England, and Amsterdam.

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