The Carlyle Group, a Washington, D.C., private-equity manager, announced plans Monday to operate the refinery with Sunoco as a joint venture called Philadelphia Energy Solutions. The venture will save 850 jobs at the refinery, the largest fuel-production plant in the northeastern United States, and may employ hundreds more if plans to expand production are realized.
Carlyle officials say they are “reimagining” the business to exploit new, cheaper domestic sources of crude oil to replace expensive imported petroleum, a major reason the refinery was uncompetitive. In September, Sunoco announced plans to exit refining and to sell or shut down the plant this summer, saying it was losing a million dollars a day on fuel production.
Carlyle, which will have a majority interest in the venture and operate the refinery, also plans to increase dramatically the use of low-priced natural gas from Pennsylvania’s booming Marcellus Shale region to reduce refining costs and emissions.