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DENVER–Canadian oil giant Suncor Energy Inc. has become the sole owner of Colorado’s two refineries with the $30-million acquisition Wednesday of Valero Energy Corporation’s Commerce City plant outside of Denver.

The 30,000-barrel-a-day plant, owned by Colorado Refining Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of San Antonio-based Valero, is located adjacent to Suncor’s existing Commerce City facility which the company purchased from ConocoPhillips for $150 million in April 2003. That transaction also included 43 service stations.

Suncor plans to combine the two refineries, which are expected to produce 90,000 barrels of oil daily or about 25% of Colorado’s gas supply. Canada’s third largest oil producer and refiner said it also will continue to provide refined products through Phillips 66 service stations in Colorado and throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

“This acquisition provides an immediate expansion of our presence in the Rocky Mountain marketplace,” Rick George, Suncor’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement announcing the acquisition. With its 90,000 barrels per day production, George said, the combined refineries are expected to be more competitive with refineries in Texas and Oklahoma.

“These two plants belong together under one company because they are much stronger and have a much brighter future together than either has individually.” Valero’s chairman and chief executive officer Bill Greehey said following the announcement.

The Calgary, Alberta-based Suncor, the world’s second-largest miner of oil sands, said it will continue to employ Valero’s 140 workers and honor an existing contract with Valero’s unions.. The company employs 250 workers at its other Commerce City refinery and another 50 at its corporate office in Denver.

Suncor, which operates an oil sands production facility in northern Alberta, Canada, plans to spend up to $8.42 billion to increase oil sands production to more than 500,000 barrels per day by 2012, up from roughly 260,000 barrels this year.

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