Delta Deal for Conoco Refinery Getting Closer (DAL, COP, JPM)

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A couple of weeks ago there were press reports that Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) was contemplating the acquisition of one of three idled Eastern US refineries, with the most likely being the 185,000 barrel/day Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery owned by ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP). Reuters reports today that its sources are saying that a deal could be announced as early as this week.

Delta has reportedly offered $150 million for the plant and the airlines would purchase the refinery but the supplies would be financed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM). Morgan would sell Delta jet fuel at a wholesale rate and sell other refined markets into the market.

That sort of arrangement is probably the only thing that would make sense for Delta, which has struggled to control its fuel costs for the past couple of years. In addition to its sales, Morgan gains some traction in the New York harbor market hub and can use the refined products as hedges on the production of jet fuel and diesel fuel.

Paul Ausick