Downturn in Gasoline Spending Weighs on Refiners

The Paragon Report Provides Equity Research on Tesoro Corporation & Western Refining


NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -03/16/12)- Many U.S. refiners posted disappointing results in the final three months of 2011 as benchmark crude climbed more than 10 percent in the fourth quarter as global demand reached a record high. While crude prices soared, gasoline spending was way down in the fourth quarter, The Associated Press reports, pushing retail gasoline prices 7 percent lower from the previous quarter. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing industry and provides equity research on Tesoro Corporation (NYSE: TSO - News) and Western Refining, Inc. (NASDAQ: WNR - News). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

One of the prominent trends in the Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing industry is the number of refinery shutdowns, particularly on the East Coast of the U.S. and in Europe. Fuel production in the East Coast tapered off after Sunoco Inc. shut its Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania refinery, and ConocoPhillips idled its Trainer plant. Sunoco plans to shut its Philadelphia refinery by July if it isn't sold. Together the facilities can process about 45 percent of the region's refining capacity. Meanwhile, Europe's refining industry is coping with aging facilities, government taxation, and the high price of crude.

According to the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, U.S. Northeast refineries are in an "economic and regulatory vise."

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Western Refining, Inc. operates as an independent crude oil refiner and marketer of refined products. The company operates in three segments: Refining Group, Wholesale Group, and Retail Group. The company's refining segment, which accounts for the bulk of the company's sales, recorded fourth quarter revenue of $2,151.3 million. This compares favorably with $1,974.2 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Tesoro Corporation reported a fourth quarter 2011 net loss of $124 million, or $0.89 per diluted share compared to net income of $3 million, or $0.02 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2010. "The fourth quarter was a challenging period as a result of the dramatic change in crude oil price differentials," said Greg Goff, President and CEO of Tesoro.

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