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LOS ANGELES -- BP is working to put to rest reports that the Arco brand is exiting southern California. There will be, however, approximately 130 less Arco retail locations as the leases for those sites change hands, the company explained.
BP acquired Arco 12 years ago. According to a company statement, there are roughly 920 Arco-branded stations in southern California operated by independent dealers and franchisees. Of that count, approximately 130 were leased from Thrifty Oil Co. and those leases are set to expire over the next two years. As they do, those stations will revert back to Thrifty Oil. The remaining 790 Arco-branded locations are not affected.
Adding to the confusion is BP's previously announced plan to divest its Carson, Calif., refinery and its southern California retail network, as CSNews Online previously reported. The company made that announcement in February 2011.
Plans call for the company to sell the refinery, associated businesses and the Arco-branded retail sites. However, this sale does not signal the end of the Arco brand in the region, according to the company. BP contends that a number of prospective buyers have already expressed interest in the refinery and the brand.
In response to recent news reports, BP spokesman Scott Dean told the Contra Costa Times that Thrifty Oil has a contract with Texas refiner Tesoro Corp. to operate the 130 sites under the USA Gasoline brand.
But as to the demise of the Arco brand, "it's been blown way out of proportion," Dean said.
He added that BP anticipates a new buyer would keep the Arco name. "We would fully expect any buyer to use the Arco brand," he said, noting that BP expects to close the sale this year.