North American - Facing volatile and declining oil prices in 2008, large oil companies began to exit the retail gas business - a market where profits were diminishing as crude oil prices rose. As a result, the low-margin gas stations, and the property they sat on, became surplus property. The decision to divest the surplus properties not only generated cash for the struggling oil and gas sector, but it also allowed them to focus on higher-profit resource production and refinery operations.
An oil company embarked on an aggressive plan to divest more than 770 of its retail petroleum stations located throughout 15 states in the US. The divestment strategy was to sell the sites as is and retain the environmental liability in order to secure the highest market value. With Arcadis’ experience in successfully extinguishing environmental liabilities and securing regulatory closure, the company turned to Arcadis.
Arcadis developed a solution for the oil company to meet their divestment goals within 10 years, well in advance of their original schedule. This plan involved assembling portfolios rather than selling individual sites, and it entailed the creation of portfolio-specific project management tools to streamline execution. The plan also called for using innovative clean up technologies, enabling the company to leverage its experience from one site across dozens of other sites to accelerate closure. These strategies lowered the cost of clean up significantly.
Within four years, 40 percent of the sites were market-ready. To date, the company has received regulatory closure for 72 percent of the sites, substantially extinguishing environmental liabilities associated with these and other retail sites that are still in their portfolio. As the highly competitive oil and gas business continues to evolve, this oil company is well positioned to improve profitability, provide higher returns for shareholders and plan for growth.
10year remediation goal
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