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    Kansas Gas Stations Hurt by Crescent's Bankruptcy

    Tulsa-area motorists are finding yellow plastic covers over fuel pump handles.

    TULSA, Okla. -- The bankruptcy of Kansas gasoline distributor Crescent Oil Co. has caused supply disruptions at some area stations and forced the company to close one downtown Tulsa outlet, according to a report by Tulsa World.

    Crescent Oil Co., of Independence, Kan., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Feb. 7, according to state court records. Since then, Crescent's cash-flow crisis has weakened its distribution chain and caused the closing -- at least temporarily -- of a Shell station at 15th and Main streets. Other Shell stations are suffering supply problems and working with Crescent to find alternatives, the newspaper reported.

    "Right now Crescent is doing all it can to get the supply back into stores. Everything we do has to be approved through the bankruptcy court," said Crescent's special projects manager, Robert Lopez, noting the downtown Shell station was closed "strictly for economic issues We own that store. That store isn't viable at this time," he said.

    Drivers who pulled into the station Wednesday afternoon found a door sign stating, "We are closed till further notice" and yellow plastic covers over the pump handles.

    Lopez would not elaborate on the store's future or any other details behind its closing.

    Crescent is one of more than 100 gasoline distributors that do business statewide and a member of the Oklahoma Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.

    Vance McSpadden, the association’s executive director, called Crescent "a major distributor" and pointed out the company is trying to help its customers get gasoline through alternative suppliers. "They're trying everything they can to get back in business. They're good people; it just happens" when there is a bankruptcy.

    The Chapter 11 filing indicates that Crescent has 100 to 199 creditors and liabilities between $50 million and $100 million. Reports show Crescent's listed debts include $6.5 million to Shell Oil Products and $3.5 million to ConocoPhillips, the report said.

    Crescent started as a small distributorship, began expanding in 1990 and now transports refined fuels for ConocoPhillips, Valero Energy Corp., Shell Oil Co. and BP PLC.

    Valero spokesman Steve Lee told the newspaper that the Tulsa-area stores flying the company's banner are experiencing no problems with their gasoline supply.

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