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HOUSTON -- More changes are afoot with BP's ampm brand. Fresh on the heels of a deal that, in part, gives Tesoro Corp. a master franchise license for the convenience store brand, BP has now decided to withdraw ampm from the eastern United States.
Company spokesman Scott Dean told CSNews Online that ampm will exit the Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Orlando markets by the end of this year. Currently, there are more than 9,500 BP-branded fuel outlets in the eastern U.S., of which approximately 200 have ampm convenience stores.
He noted that the "strategic decision" will turn the brand's focus to markets in the western United States where ampm has more than 900 locations and a 30-plus-year history alongside ARCO-branded fuel locations.
Dean said this decision also supports the establishment of a long-term ampm relationship with the eventual buyer of its Southwest refining and marketing business, noting "BP expects ampm to remain a strong brand in the western U.S." In February 2011, BP announced plans to refocus its refining and marketing business on its northern U.S. refineries and find buyers for its facilities in Carson, Calif., and Texas City, Texas. To that end, Tesoro has agreed to buy the ARCO retail network across the Southwest and the Carson refinery as part of a $2.5-billion deal, as CSNews Online reported earlier this month.
In turn, BP will exclusively license the ARCO retail brand rights from Tesoro for northern California, Oregon and Washington and continue to produce transportation fuels at its Cherry Point, Wash., refinery. BP also will retain ownership of the ampm c-store brand.
Dean told CSNews Online that the company's decision to exit the eastern markets will not affect its plan to divest the southern part of its West Coast refining and marketing business, including the Carson refinery, by the end of 2012.
"BP will continue to comply with its obligations to its dealers and franchisees within the Southwest refining and marketing business until an orderly transition of those obligations to the new buyer is completed," he said.