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    QuikTrip, Magellan Outbid for Refineries by Hong Kong Energy Giant

    A subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based commodities and energy giant swooped in to outbid two Tulsa companies for assets of SemFuel.

    TULSA, Okla. -- The United States subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based commodities and energy giant swooped in this week to outbid convenience store chain QuikTrip Corp. for SemFuel gasoline terminal assets in Fort Worth, Texas, Tulsa World reported.

    Noble Americas Corp. offered $65.35 million for all SemFuel assets on the bankruptcy auction block. Those parts of SemGroup LP's refined petroleum subsidiary included terminals in Wisconsin and Michigan that were bid on by Combined Locks, Wis.-based U.S. Oil Co., according to reports. The SemFuel assets also included facilities in Houston and Bryan, Texas, not sought by the earlier bidders.

    QuikTrip bid $14 million in late June to buy the SemFuel terminal operations in Fort Worth. The move, if successful, would have been the convenience store chain's first foray into gasoline storage and marketing, the newspaper reported.

    "We would like to have had it, but we were unsuccessful," QuikTrip spokesman Michael Thornbrugh told Tulsa World. "It was a good learning experience for us."

    QuikTrip had been looking at the Fort Worth terminal for a long time, Thornbrugh said. He would not elaborate on whether the Tulsa, Okla.-based company plans to try for another storage facility, but added the unsuccessful SemFuel bid was worth the effort.

    "We learned to put a value in our minds of what a terminal costs. We learned how to evaluate terminals," Thornbrugh said in the report. "It just made a lot of sense. We had a bottom line, and somebody had a bigger bottom line than us."

    Stamford, Conn.-based Noble Americas Corp. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Noble Group, the international supply chain of industrial, agricultural and energy products. Noble owns mines, ethanol plants and refined petroleum product marketing assets.

    The SemFuel bids were submitted by a July 27 deadline, with SemGroup attorneys mulling the offers at Monday's auction. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan L. Shannon could formally approve the Noble Americas offer at an Aug. 13 hearing, according to the report.

    SemGroup, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2008 and is now trying to gain creditor approval for a reorganization plan, previously sold off its SemMaterials asphalt unit. The midstream energy company hopes to emerge by the third quarter as a public entity focused on crude oil storage and transportation.

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