CHEVRON OFFICIALS TALK WITH BIDDERS IN SALE OF DELAWARE RIVER REFINERY

CHEVRON OFFICIALS TALK WITH BIDDERS IN SALE OF DELAWARE RIVER REFINERY

Chevron Corp. expects to announce the sale of its Philadelphia refinery, the largest ofthe eight refineries on the Delaware River, by the end of the year.

James Galloway, spokesman for the Philadelphia refinery, said this week that the company had received a number of "bids which appear to be viable" and was now talking with the parties.The company, based in San Francisco, will not disclose the exact number of bids, the value of them, or the identity of the bidders, Mr. Galloway said.

Chevron acquired the 717-acre, 180,000-barrel-a-day refinery in a $13.3 billion merger with Gulf Oil Co. in 1984. From day one, the company made it clear it did not feel the operation's East Coast location did not fit its primarily West Coast and Hawaii marketing strategy.

But Chevron turned down two bids back then as "non-viable."

In May, Chevron said the 66-year-old refinery was once again up for sale, but this time it planned an aggressive sales campaign.

Mr. Galloway said then he was confident a buyer could be found.

James Akins, president of the Chevron unit of Local 8-234 of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union, said the employees have been promised "a seamless transfer."

Although the company is keeping mum, others have happily speculated on who the successful bidder might be. Reuter recently ran a report calling Philadelphia-based Sun Oil Co. "the most likely" buyer.

"We never comment on speculation about acquisitions, mergers, divestitures or joint ventures," Bud Davis, Sun spokesman, said Monday.

Employees at Chevron report spotting representatives of Sun taking a tour of the operations since the announcement.

But they also report that among those who came for a look were representatives of Connecticut-based Tosco Corp. and Lyondell Chemical Corp. in Houston, two firms that already are involved in refinery operations.

Tosco is the company that bought Exxon's Bayway Refinery in North Jersey last April for $327 million and that, just a couple of weeks ago, said it was acquiring British Petroleum's refining and marketing assets in Washington and Oregon for $125 million.