BUSINESS
09/27/2011 09:19 EDT | Updated 11/27/2011 05:12 EST

ConocoPhillips looks to sell Pa. oil refinery; plant may shut down if it can't find buyer

NEW YORK, N.Y. - ConocoPhillips says it is looking for buyers for its oil refinery in Pennsylvania.

Like other East Coast refineries, the Trainer, Pa. facility has struggled to compete with foreign imports, weak fuel demand, and stringent regulations that make the refining business more costly.

Willie Chiang, Conoco senior vice-president, said in a statement that the company decided to sell the plant instead of renovating to make it more competitive. If it can't find a buyer within six months, Conoco will idle and possibly shut down the plant altogether. It will try to redeploy employees to other company operations.

The Houston energy company said the decision will result in a $300 million charge in the third quarter.

Shares increased $1.51, or 2.4 per cent, to $65.64 in premarket trading.