Saturday, September 5, 2015

Marcus Hook deal returns Sunoco to gas roots

From natural gas, to oil, and now back to gas

Marcus Hook deal returns Sunoco to gas roots


Sunoco, which started corporate life in the late 1800s as the Pew family's western Pennsylvania natural-gas drilling and supply business, then shifted into oil refining and related lines for more than 100 years, has moved back into Pennsylvania natural gas.

Corporate descendent Sunoco Logistics, the pipeline company that remained independent after what was left of Sunoco's refining and its gas-station network were  purchased by Energy Transfer Partners LP for $4.9 billion last year (an ETP affiliate is Sunoco Logistics' 30% owner), has agreed to pay Energy Transfer $60 million for the former Marcus Hook oil refinery property for use as a natural gas transport and processing center for fuels from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale fields, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Andrew Maykuth reports here. (If you're not an Inquirer subscriber, use promotion code R55T to access the story this week.)

Sun Oil Co. developed the refinery around a former Delaware River estate and park which its founding Pew family acquired in 1901 to process oil transported by sailing ship from the Spindletop field in Texas. Marcus Hook (and the tankers they soon started building at nearby Sun Ship in Chester) freed the Pews from reliance on Pennsylvania railroad and pipeline pricing dictated by John D. Rockefeller's rival Standard Oil Co. Workers have been busy for months scrapping outdated equipment and preparing Marcus Hook for its new gas role.

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

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