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    Suncor Closes ConocoPhillips Deal

    Acquisition includes 43 convenience stores and a Denver refinery.

    TORONTO -- Canadian oil company Suncor Energy Inc. said it has received U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approval for its planned $150-million purchase of ConocoPhillips Inc. Rocky Mountain assets, a deal announced in mid-April.

    The acquisition, which includes the 60,500-barrel-a-day refinery, 43 Phillips-branded gas stations and convenience stores as well as a pipeline and storage facilities, gives Canada's number-four integrated oil firm a new outlet for its growing oil production. Suncor, which has scouted for U.S. refining opportunities for several years, becomes the third major Canadian oil chain in the past three years to develop significant retail assets in the United States. Alimentation Couche-Tard has been the most aggressive with the acquisition of Dairy Mart Inc., Johnson Oil Co. and last week's deal to add 43 stores from bankrupt Clark Retail Enterprises Inc. Irving Oil Ltd. has quietly padded its Northeast assets to include about 50 convenience stores and gas stations supplied from the company's Saint John, New Brunswick refinery.

    "With a target of growing crude oil production to more than half a million barrels per day, it's critical to our strategy that we have stable, long-term market access," said Rick George, Suncor's president and chief executive.

    Suncor plans to spend up to $225 million at the Denver plant through 2006 to meet new U.S. fuels legislation and allow it to process high-sulfur "sour" crude, which will make up a larger portion of total output after the oil sands expansion.

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