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    Marathon Looking to Expand

    Report claims the oil company is close to acquiring Atofina's Texas refinery.

    HOUSTON -- Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC is preparing a bid for the 240,000 barrel per day Atofina Petrochemicals refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, a source familiar with the planned sale told Reuters.

    Atofina, a subsidiary of TotalFinaElf SA, put the refinery on the market in the fall. Premcor Inc. and other refining companies showed interest, but none of those companies seemed willing to pull the trigger on a deal. The source did not know what the dollar value of Marathon Ashland's offer would be.

    Marathon Ashland spokesman Chuck Rice declined comment, citing company policy not to speak on industry rumors or speculation, the report said.

    Marathon Ashland is a joint venture between Marathon Oil Corp. and Ashland Inc., which operates seven refineries with a combined daily crude oil throughput capacity of 935,000 barrels per day (bpd). The company has one refinery in Texas City, Texas, with a crude oil processing capacity of 72,000 bpd.

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