Marathon Petroleum Hungry For Acquisitions

Following its separation from Marathon Oil Corp., Marathon Petroleum is now preparing to grow its Speedway brand. 

Marathon Petroleum Corp., which spun off from Marathon Oil Corp. last month, is searching for acquisitions and seeking assets that meld with its strategy of refining oil and distributing the fuels produced, Reuters reported.

“We have an appetite for acquisitions—probably not across the Atlantic, but an appetite for acquisitions, and definitely an appetite to continue to grow our Speedway business,” CEO Gary Heminger told Reuters, adding that the chain is eyeing retail properties positioned in the U.S. Southeast.

The company’s planned capital spending is shrinking after it completes an expansion of its Detroit refinery next year.  Marathon Petroleum operates six refineries with more than 1.1 million barrels per day of refining capacity, 9,600 miles of pipeline and 1,350 Speedway locations in seven states.

“Our business model is that we do not want to go in and just be a merchant refiner and pick a refinery in some state … What we do best is to have that entire supply chain,” Heminger said. “If we could find some transportation assets and some retail assets and make the whole system work, we would possibly have some interest.”

Heminger told Reuters he does not plan to move assets into a master limited partnership, a structure that has become popular with owners of cash-generating pipeline and other energy infrastructure assets because they allow the companies to operate while paying almost no corporate taxes.

Marathon split into two companies—an independent oil and gas producer and a refiner—on June 30 in hopes that it would secure higher valuations for both parts. Just this month it was announced that ConocoPhillips is following Marathon’s lead, announcing plans to separate its upstream and downstream assets into two companies. For more on the ConocoPhillips split, see the August issue of Convenience Store Decisions magazine.


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