Yorktown is synonymous with a big defeat for the British during the American War of Independence.
For El Paso-based independent refiner and marketer Western Refining, Yorktown is also synonymous with cutting its losses. The company had acquired the 70,000-barrels-a-day Yorktown refinery as part of its purchase of Giant Industries in 2007. However, the highly competitive East Coast refining market (where it competes with Hess, Sunoco, Valero Energy, and others) and the costs involved in maintaining and upgrading an aging refinery made the plant more of burden than a financial asset.
Last week Western Refining sold the Yorktown terminal and refinery as well as a segment of an oil pipeline in New Mexico to subsidiaries of Plains All American Pipeline for approximately $220 million. The company will retain its East Coast wholesale business and will continue to market petroleum products in the Mid-Atlantic region, but will focus its refining and most of its wholesale, retail, and marketing operations in its home turf, the US Southwest.
Perhaps the Western Refining executives can take heart from Charles Cornwallis, the defeated British General at Yorktown. Redeployed to the Indian Subcontinent as Commander-in-Chief of British India he oversaw the growth of a burgeoning commercial empire.
Photo by Marion Doss used under a Creative Commons license.