DLA and Pillsbury score roles on BP’s Californian refinery sale

DLA Piper is acting for BP on the $2.5bn (£1.6bn) sale of a Californian oil refinery to Tesoro Corporation, with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman advising the buyer.

According to reports, BP is selling its Carson refinery as part of a plan to scale back its downstream business in the US and raise money to cover its obligations following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.

BP said in February 2011 it was putting the refinery up for sale along with its Texas City refinery in order to focus on more profitable US assets in the states of Indiana, Ohio and Washington. In June 2010, BP agreed to create a $20bn claims fund over three-and-a-half years to pay damages resulting from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Refiner Tesoro will pay $1.18bn for BP’s Carson assets, as well as another $1.3bn for the refinery’s inventory.

According to US Securities and Exchange Commission filings, DLA Piper is advising BP. Houston energy partner Carlos Sole III and Chicago corporate partner Greg Dahlgren are leading on the deal. Other DLA Piper partners involved are Chicago franchise partner Dennis Wieczorek, Chicago real estate partners Caryn Englander and Paul Shadle, San Francisco environmental partner Matt Covington, Chicago IP partner Jason Levin and Houston energy associates Jeremy Kennedy and Travis King.

Pillsbury Winthrop is advising Tesoro, with corporate and securities partner Bruce McDiarmid leading the firm’s team. Other partners at the firm on the deal are energy partner Robert James; global sourcing partner Michael Murphy; compensation and benefits partner Christine Richardson; employment partner Paula Weber; corporate and securities partner Patrick Devine; finance partner Michael Hindus; real estate partner Glenn Snyder; finance partner Robert Spjut; real estate partner Laura Hannusch; and IP partner Richard Zaitlen.

Pillsbury partners Jerry Ross, David Farabee and Michael Barr and counsel Brad Raffle are all advising Tesoro on environment issues.

Background to this deal:

Traditionally, Linklaters has been BP’s go-to corporate counsel, with former senior partner David Cheyne key to the relationship. But, in what was viewed as a coup, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was picked to advise BP in its defence of any potential takeovers following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster (7 July 2010). In January 2011, however, Linklaters advised BP on its £10bn share swap with Russia’s Rosneft. Freshfields advised Rosneft (24 January 2011).