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Delta Air Lines seeks investment partner for Pa. oil refinery

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Delta Air Lines seeks investment partner for Pa. oil refinery

Delta Air Lines Inc. announced Sept. 5 that it is working with investment banks Barclays PLC and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. to seek an investment partner for its 185,000 barrel-per-day Trainer Refinery.

The airline acquired the oil refinery, which is located on the Delaware River about 10 miles southwest of Philadelphia, from ConocoPhillips in June 2012 through its Monroe Energy LLC subsidiary for $150 million in order to help secure its own jet fuel supply. ConocoPhillips had idled the plant in 2011.

"Under any potential joint venture Delta expects to retain an ownership stake in the Trainer Refinery and ensure that it maintains current levels of jet fuel production, while a strategic partner would focus on gasoline, diesel fuel and other products," the airline said.

According to Monroe Energy, the medium-complexity refinery currently runs on a diet of light sweet crude oil, "which is vastly different than the crude slate historically processed" at the facility.

The airline said it expects to finish exploring opportunities by the end of 2018, during which time "it will be business as usual" for both refinery operations and the Delta's northeast fueling operations, while acknowledging the process may not result in any changes to the ownership or operating structure of the refinery.

Delta said it plans to invest $120 million during the fourth quarter for maintenance and upgrades to the facility that will keep it running for the next four to six years.