Whoa! When it all shakes out the sign may still say ARCO, but it won't be oil giant BP supplying the gas, a PB spokesman wrote to Chatworth Patch and other media outlets Saturday.
Word leaked earlier in the day that BP, which has owned ARCO since 2000, is not renewing its leases with Thrifty Oil Co. at 257 station sites. And about 130 ARCO franchisees would lose their stations as leases begin to expire in April.
It's all part of BP's plan to sell a 630-acre Carson refinery and leave the market.
"It's been blown way out of proportion," BP spokesman Scott D. Dean said.
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"There will be more than 700 ARCO branded sites, owned and operated by ARCO dealers that will continue to operate under ARCO brand," he wrote in an email.
He explained to the Daily News that ARCO will allow leases on 130 ARCO branded sites to expire in the next two years and revert back to the Thrifty Oil Co., which owns the properties. Thrifty has a contract with Texas refiner Tesoro Corp. to operate those sites under the USA Gasoline brand.
He told Chatsworth Patch that, "the facts are that ARCO is a very strong brand and is here to stay."
However, more than a year ago BP announced that its Carson refinery and ARCO stations were up for sale, in part to pay for BP's disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP is still trying to sell the properties. "We would fully expect a buyer to use the ARCO brand," Dean told the Daily News.
"Out of nearly 1,000 retail sites in California who sell ARCO gasoline only 257 sites were leased by BP from Thrifty Oil Company," he said. "Unfortunately BP’s lease agreement with Thrifty Oil Company for the 257 leased sites will expire starting April of 2012."
It is unknown whether any new operator would continue to market gasoline at a discounted price.