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Sunoco LP
Master limited partnership; controlled by Energy Transfer Partners
Traded asNYSESUN
ISINUS86764P1093 Edit this on Wikidata
IndustryPetroleum industry
FoundedMarch 27, 1886; 133 years ago (1886-03-27) (as Sun Company Inc.)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
FounderJoseph Newton Pew
Philip Pisano
Edward O. Emerson
HeadquartersDallas, Texas, U.S.
Key people
Joseph Kim, CEO & President
Thomas R. Miller, CFO
Matthew S. Ramsey, Chairman
RevenueIncrease $11.723 billion (2017)
Increase $0.323 billion (2017)
Total assetsDecrease $8.344 billion (2017)
Total equityIncrease $2.247 billion (2017)
Number of employees
6,513, including affiliates (2017)
Footnotes / references
Sunoco Gas Station Middletown New York

Sunoco LP is an American master limited partnership organized in Delaware and headquartered in Dallas, Texas that is a wholesale distributor of motor fuels. It distributes fuel to 5,322 Sunoco-branded gas stations, almost all of which are owned and operated by third-parties. The partnership is controlled by Energy Transfer Partners.[1]

The partnership was formerly known as Sun Company Inc. (1886–1920 and 1976–1998) and Sun Oil Co. (1920–1976). It was formerly engaged in oil refinery, the chemical industry, and retail sales, but divested these businesses.


1800s to 1900s: founding and growth[edit]

Newspaper ad for Sunoco motor oil, then known as Sun Oil Tulsa Daily World (November 1, 1922)

The partnership began as The Peoples Natural Gas Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1886, its partners – Joseph Newton Pew, Philip Pisano, and Edward O. Emerson – decided to expand their gas business with a stake in the new oil discoveries in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Four years later, the growing enterprise became the Sun Oil Company of Ohio. Sun Oil diversified quickly, active in production and distribution of oil as well as processing and marketing refined products. By 1901, the company was incorporated in New Jersey as Sun Company and turned its interest to the new Spindletop field in Texas. Pew's sons, J. Howard Pew and Joseph N. Pew Jr. would take over the company after their father's death.

With a growing portfolio of oil fields and refineries, Sun opened its first service station in Ardmore, Pennsylvania in 1920. In 1922, it changed its name back to Sun Oil Company and, in 1925, it became a public company via an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Sunoco ranked 39th among United States corporations in the value of World War II production contracts.[2] Sun expanded internationally following the war. Its first Canadian refinery was built in 1953 in Sarnia, Ontario, home to a burgeoning new petrochemical industry. Sun established a facility at Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo in 1957, which produced over a billion barrels (160,000,000 m3) before the operation was nationalized in 1975.

Custom blending[edit]

In 1956, Sunoco introduced "custom blending" pumps, an innovation that allowed customers of Sunoco service stations to choose from several octane ratings through a single pump.[citation needed] Sunoco stations offered as many as eight grades of "Custom Blended" gasolines from its "Dial A Grade" pumps ranging from subregular Sunoco 190 to Sunoco 260, the latter a super-premium grade of 102 octane that was advertised as the "highest octane pump gas" and very popular with operators of V8-powered Muscle Cars of the 1960s.[3]

1960s to 2000s: acquisitions and branding[edit]

In 1967, Sun established its Great Canadian Oil Sands Limited facility in northern Alberta, Canada, to help unlock the estimated 300 billion barrels (48 km3) of recoverable oil in the Athabasca oil sands.

In 1968, Sun Oil merged with Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Sunray DX Oil Company, which refined and marketed gasoline under the DX brand in several midwestern states, and included several refineries.[4] Its Tulsa refinery was operated by Sun until its sale in June 2009 to Holly Corporation of Dallas.[5] This move expanded Sun's marketing area into the mid-continent region.

Sun Oil continued marketing its petroleum products under both the Sunoco and DX brands through the 1970s and into the 1980s. In the late 1980s, Sun began rebranding DX stations in the Midwest to the Sunoco brand and even introduced the high-octane Sunoco ULTRA 94 gasoline to stations in that region, but by the early 1990s, they pulled out of virtually all areas in the southeastern U.S. and west of the Mississippi, resulting in the closing and rebranding of service stations and jobbers to other brands in those areas, notably Sinclair in Oklahoma. Ironically enough, they also at this time offered Economy 86, which was the lowest commercially available gasoline at the time.

With increased diversification, Sun Oil Company was renamed Sun Company in 1976. In 1980, Sun acquired the U.S. oil and gas properties of Texas Pacific Oil Company, Inc., a subsidiary of The Seagram Company, Ltd., for US$2.3 billion—the second largest acquisition in U.S. history to that date.

Through the 1980s, Sun developed oil interests in the North Sea and offshore China and expanded its holdings in both oil and coal with additional U.S. business acquisitions. In 1983, consumers saw the arrival of Sunoco ULTRA 94, the market's highest octane unleaded gasoline. Then in 1988, Sun undertook a major restructuring to segregate its domestic oil and gas exploration and production business and the focus the company on its refining and marketing business. This led to the acquisition of Atlantic Refining and Marketing (and, in effect, that company's convenience store chain, A-Plus), including its Philadelphia refinery which was later merged with the former Gulf Oil refinery next door that Sunoco acquired from Chevron.

By the 1990s, Sun had departed the international exploration business and was fully dedicated to its branded products and services. In 1994, Sunoco acquired the Philadelphia Chevron Oil refinery consolidating operations with its own adjacent which it had acquired with Atlantic. Sun sold its remaining interest in Canada's Suncor Energy in 1995, but markets product from two refineries – one in Toledo, Ohio, and the other Sarnia, Ontario – in joint ventures.[6] In 1998, Sun Company, Inc. became Sunoco, Inc. In 2011 the Toledo facility was sold to PBF Energy.

In 1998, Sun acquired the chemical business of Allied Signal, including a phenol plant. The business was renamed as "Sunoco Chemicals, Inc."[7] In 2011, the plant was acquired by Honeywell for $85 million.[8]

In 2003, Speedway LLC, then a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum, sold 193 convenience stores to Sunoco.[9] It also acquired many service stations from Coastal Petroleum.[10]

Sunoco fuel supply truck at 2010 NASCAR race

In 2004, Sunoco replaced the ConocoPhillips' 76 brand as the official fuel of NASCAR.[11]

After ConocoPhillips abandoned the marketing of the Mobil brand name in the Washington, D.C., area, Sunoco purchased these rights, converted Maryland and Virginia Mobil stations to the Sunoco brand, bringing the A-Plus convenience store with them – prior to this, these stations had convenience stores under the Circle K or On the Run brands.

In September 2009, Sunoco sold its retail heating oil and propane distribution business to Superior Plus for $82.5 million in cash.[12][13]

In 2012, Sunoco demolished its Eagle Point refinery complex in West Deptford Township, New Jersey, which had been idle since 2010.[14]

In Canada, the Sunoco brand was licensed for the Ontario retail gas station operations of Suncor Energy until 2010. Following Suncor's acquisition of Petro-Canada, all Canadian Sunoco outlets were converted to Petro-Canada branding.[15]

Exit from refinery business[edit]

In December 2010, Sunoco sold its refinery in Toledo, Ohio to PBF Energy for US$400,000,000. Effective 6 September 2011, Sunoco announced that it would exit the crude oil refining business and seek to sell its Philadelphia and Marcus Hook refineries by mid-2012. The company has said that its cost for exiting the refining business could be as high as US$2.7 billion. According to one report, the company had lost some US$800,000,000 on refining operations since 2009; an earlier report provided a figure of US$772,000,000.

On December 1, 2011, Sunoco announced it would accelerate closure of the Marcus Hook facility.[16] The Marcus Hook facility, founded in 1902 and covering 781 acres, was dedicated exclusively to the processing of light sweet crude oil; this processing focus combined with volatility in crude oil prices are considered contributing factors to both this refinery's closure and Sunoco's exit from the refinery business.[17]

Joint venture, bankruptcy, and future closure[edit]

In September 2012, Sunoco formed a joint venture with The Carlyle Group, allowing for the continuation of operations at the Philadelphia refinery, and temporarily saving over 800 jobs.[18][19] However, on January 22, 2018, the joint venture, named Philadelphia Energy Solutions, filed for bankruptcy.[20] The bankruptcy announcement was followed by a damaging fire on June 21, 2019, which occurred at the 30,000 bpd Alkylation unit.[21] The explosion of the Alkylation Unit triggered a massive fireball and caused nearby homes to shake.[22] A few days later, on June 26 the refinery complex announced it would cease operations and shut down.[23]

Sale to Energy Transfer Partners and merger with Susser Holdings[edit]

In 2012, Dallas-based energy company Energy Transfer Partners purchased Sunoco.[24]

In 2014, Energy Transfer Partners acquired Susser Holdings Corporation, the parent company of Stripes Convenience Stores, and merged it with Sunoco into a master limited partnership.[25] In Texas, the Sunoco brand replaced Valero Energy at the Stripes locations; Stripes and A-Plus remained separate brands.

Also in 2014, Sunoco acquired Aloha Petroleum.[26]

In 2015, Sunoco entered into an agreement to purchase MD America operations in east Texas.[25] Its subsidiary, Aloha Petroleum, acquired stores including a Subway in Hawaii.[27]

In November 2016, Sunoco Logistics LP acquired Energy Transfer Partners LP for $21 billion.[28]

Exclusive deals[edit]

In addition to the sponsorship deal with NASCAR, Sunoco also had exclusive deals as the gasoline supplier at all Indy Racing League races and the travel plazas along the Ohio Turnpike, Pennsylvania Turnpike, New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Atlantic City Expressway, Palisades Parkway, and Delaware Turnpike.[29][30][31][32][33]

Sunoco also operates some of the filling stations on the New York Thruway, as well as the two service areas - Chesapeake House and Maryland House - along Interstate 95 in Maryland.[34]

In addition, Sunoco also owns & operates a station with an A-Plus convenience store at Pittsburgh International Airport, as Sunoco has a very large market share in Pittsburgh.

Due to its large presence in Western Pennsylvania, Sunoco is a longtime sponsor of the Pittsburgh Pirates, with an advertisement for Sunoco being present in left field at PNC Park.[35]

Sunoco was the official fuel supplier of the IZOD IndyCar Series (now the Verizon IndyCar Series) from 2011 through 2018.[36]

Sale of stores to Seven & I Holdings Co.[edit]

In January 2018, the company sold 1,030 retail stores to 7-Eleven and agreed to supply 2.2 billion gallons of fuel to 7-Eleven convenience stores annually for 15 years.[37] This included Sunoco's contract to the service plazas along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, with some users commenting on social media that they would prefer seeing one of Pennsylvania's major convenience store chains based in the commonwealth such as Sheetz or Wawa take over the contract instead.[38]

Environmental record[edit]

In 1993, when the company owned refineries, it was the only refiner to sign the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (Ceres) principal.[39]

In 2000, Sunoco leaked 190,000 gallons of oil into the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Pennsylvania through a cracked pipe. Sunoco's safety systems did not detect the leak, which was reported by a hiker in the Wildlife Refuge.[40]

On April 4, 1991, Pennsylvania Senator H. John Heinz III was killed when his airplane collided with a Sun Company helicopter in what is known as the Merion air disaster. Falling debris killed 2 children at the Merion Elementary School in the Lower Merion School District. The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident included poor judgment on the part of the captain of the Sun Company helicopter, and his failure to maintain safe separation from the Senator's airplane.[41]

As of March 2016, records maintained by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) show that Sunoco has experienced 257 hazardous liquids incidents since 2006. (PHMSA defines an "incident" as an event that involves a release of gas from a pipeline or of liquefied natural gas or gas from an LNG facility that results in a death, or injury necessitating hospitalization; or property damage of $50,000 or more). These 257 incidents resulted in $46,936,215 of property damage. In terms of number of incidents, Sunoco has the worst safety record of 1,518 active pipeline operators who report operating data to PHMSA.[42]

In 2014, Sunoco was one of 50 companies sued by Pennsylvania, which alleged that the companies polluted waters with MTBE, a gasoline additive.[43]

Sunoco Logistic's ongoing Mariner East pipeline project has been delayed on multiple occasion due to accidental pollution of water supplies in Pennsylvania.[44][45]


Sunoco was Penske Racing's sponsor of choice for many years, particularly in the SCCA Trans-Am Series, where Roger Penske's Sunoco Camaros won the championship in 1968 and 1969. Sunoco also sponsored Penske Porsches in the SCCA Can-Am series, and won the Indianapolis 500 in 1972 with Penske and driver Mark Donohue.

Between 1989 and 1992, Sunoco sponsored NASCAR team owner Billy Hagan's No. 94 Cup team. Sterling Marlin drove the #94 Sunoco Ultra94 Oldsmobile during the 1989-90 seasons and Terry Labonte for the 91-92 seasons.[46]

In 2015, Sunoco became the Official Fuel of the National Hot Rod Association.[47]

In 2016, as part of the Daytona update coinciding with the 2016 Daytona 500, a NASCAR version of the Toyota Camry with Sunoco as its main sponsor appears in Real Racing 3, a racing video game.[48]

In 2017/2018 Sunoco became the official race fuel for the Canadian Snow Cross Circuit, CSRA.


  1. ^ a b "Sunoco LP 2017 Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  2. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p. 620
  3. ^ "America's six finest gasoline grades custom-blended to fit any car today". Shamokin News-Dispatch. July 2, 1958.
  4. ^ "Sunray Dx Oil Company, and J. H. Douma, R. E. Foss, R. Paul Henry, R. W. Mcdowell, L. G. Rodgers, and C. H. Wright, Appellants, v. Helmerich & Payne, Inc., John C. Priest, Andrew J. Musacchio and James Crum, Appellees, 398 F.2d 447 (10th Cir. 1968)". United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. July 12, 1968.
  5. ^ "HOLLY CORP FORM 8-K" (PDF). Holly Corporation. April 16, 2009.
  6. ^ "Sunoco Chemicals and the Sarnia Refinery". Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  7. ^ "Sun Co. to Acquire AlliedSignal's Philadelphia Phenol Facility". Hydrocarbon Online. April 2, 1998.
  8. ^ DiStefano, Joseph N. (May 18, 2011). "Sunoco sells Philly plant to Honeywell". Philadelphia Media Network.
  9. ^ "Sunoco buying 193 stations from Marathon Ashland unit". American City Business Journals. February 7, 2003.
  10. ^ "FTC Closes Investigation of Sunoco's Proposed Acquisition of Coastal Eagle Point Oil Company". Federal Trade Commission (Press release). December 29, 2003.
  11. ^ Mathis, Mike (May 10, 2004). "Sunoco and NASCAR forge winning team". American City Business Journals.
  12. ^ "Superior Plus Completes US$86 Million Acquisition of Sunoco Retail Heat" (Press release). Marketwired. September 30, 2009.
  13. ^ Samanta, Koustav (September 2, 2009). "Superior to buy Sunoco's fuel distribution biz". Reuters.
  14. ^ Littel, Bryan (February 16, 2012). "Sunoco Demolishing Eagle Point Refinery". Patch Media.
  15. ^ "".
  16. ^ Maykuth, Andrew (December 2, 2011). "Sunoco abruptly shuts Marcus Hook refinery". Philadelphia Media Network.
  17. ^ Key, Peter (January 20, 2012). "Venture that saved a Philadelphia refinery launched". American City Business Journals.
  18. ^ "The Carlyle Group and Sunoco Agree to Form Philadelphia Refinery Joint Venture" (Press release). The Carlyle Group. July 1, 2012.
  19. ^ Key, Peter (September 19, 2012). "Venture that saved a Philadelphia refinery launched". American City Business Journals.
  20. ^ Powell, Barbara J.; Murtaugh, Dan (January 22, 2018). "Biggest U.S. East Coast Oil Refinery Files for Bankruptcy". Bloomberg L.P.
  21. ^ Renshaw, Jarrett (June 21, 2019). "Massive Philadelphia Refinery Fire Threatens Facility's Future". Reuters.
  22. ^ Mervosh, Sarah (June 21, 2019). "Philadelphia Oil Refinery Explosion Shakes City With Huge Fireball". The New York Times.
  23. ^ Maykuth, Andrew; Vargas, Claudia (June 26, 2019). "Philadelphia Energy Solutions to close refinery damaged by fire; gas prices spike". Philadelphia Inquirer.
  24. ^ Energy Transfer Partners buys oil refiner Sunoco Archived March 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine USA Today (04/30/2012)
  25. ^ a b Maykuth, Andrew (April 29, 2014). "Sunoco parent buys Texas chain for $1.8 billion". Philadelphia Media Network.
  26. ^ "Aloha Saying Goodbye to Hawaii". CSP Daily News. September 26, 2014.
  27. ^ Magin, Janis L. (October 1, 2015). "Aloha Petroleum acquires Kauai Shell gas stations, Subway, convenience stores". American City Business Journals.
  28. ^ Olson, Bradley; Hufford, Austen (November 21, 2016). "Sunoco Logistics to Buy Energy Transfer Partners". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660.(subscription required)
  29. ^ "Service Plazas - Contact Information". Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
  30. ^ "Sunoco to Provide Fuel along Ohio Turnpike" (Press release). Business Wire. December 22, 2010.
  31. ^ "Sunoco Drives Onto N.J.'s Garden State Parkway". Convenience Store News. January 11, 2011.
  32. ^ "Frank S. Farley Service Plaza". South Jersey Transportation Authority.
  33. ^ "How Sunoco Became King of the Turnpike". CSP Daily News. May 10, 2016.
  34. ^ "Maryland I-95 Travel Plazas". Maryland Transportation Authority.
  35. ^ "Pirates announce affiliation renewals with team partners". Pittsburgh Pirates. May 6, 2013.
  36. ^ "Sunoco to Become Official Fuel of Indy Racing League in 2011" (Press release). Business Wire. May 27, 2010.
  37. ^ Kezar, Korri (January 25, 2018). "7-Eleven completes $3.3B purchase after agreeing to divest stores". American City Business Journals.
  38. ^
  39. ^ Feiler, Jeremy (March 25, 2002). "Sunoco to spend big to control pollution". American City Business Journals.
  40. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-16. Retrieved 2016-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  41. ^ CUSHMAN JR., JOHN H. (April 5, 1991). "Senator Heinz and 6 Others Killed In Midair Crash Near Philadelphia". The New York Times.(subscription required)
  42. ^ "Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration". Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
  43. ^ "Pa. sues 50 companies over gasoline leaks, additive MTBE pollution". The Patriot-News. Associated Press. June 20, 2014.
  44. ^ "Mariner East: A pipeline project plagued by mishaps and delays". StateImpact Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  45. ^ "Sunoco proposes changes to Mariner East 2 construction in Chester County; DEP sets public hearing". StateImpact Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  46. ^ Exum, David (June 13, 2008). "NASCAR Numerology: What's in a Car Number?". Boston Herald.
  47. ^ "Sunoco to become official sponsor of NHRA". Motor Sport. May 5, 2014.
  48. ^ "EA Brings NASCAR to Real Racing 3 on NVIDIA SHIELD". Shield Portable. March 10, 2016.

External links[edit]