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Tesoro to close refinery in HI, convert facility

Oskar Garcia, Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) -- Tesoro Corp. plans to close an oil refinery in Hawaii in April, converting the facility to a distribution and storage terminal while hoping for a buyer, company officials said Tuesday.

The San Antonio-based oil company said it will maintain the distribution system at the Kapolei facility in west Oahu to fulfill its supply commitments.

It's not clear exactly how many jobs will be lost when the facility stops its refining operations. Tesoro said it expects to save $300 million to $350 million in 2013 from the shutdown because of reduced working capital needs.

News of the shutdown drew responses from Hawaii lawmakers, who pledged to help minimize fallout from the ending of an operation that refined up to 94,000 barrels of oil per day to make fuel for jets, boats, cars and power use.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said Tesoro has assured her office that the closure won't disrupt Hawaii's gasoline supply.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state has offered to work with Tesoro to smoothen the transition.

Both said the closure shows Hawaii needs to be more energy independent.

"We currently send billions of dollars a year outside of our islands to meet our energy needs," Abercrombie said. "This administration is seeking long term infrastructure investments that ensure our electric grids are stable, reliable and modern enough to integrate all available alternative and renewable energy technologies."

Shares of Tesoro Corp. rose $1.18, or 2.9 percent, in afterhours trading Tuesday after closing the day at $40.22.


Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/oskargarcia .