BHP-HAWAII SALE AFFECTS AMERICAN SAMOA

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (March 23, 1998 - Samoa News)--- BHP-Hawaii's American Samoa operations are definitely included in the sale of BHP-Hawaii to Tesoro, a Texas-based oil company.

Tesoro has agreed to buy the Hawaii operations (which includes the Barber's Point oil refinery and 32 Hawaii gas stations) for $325 million. (American Samoa uses about 3% of the output from the Barber's Point refinery.)

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of May.

Friday, Samoa News was informed that the sale includes the American Samoa operations.

Last Wednesday, Tesoro Chief Executive Officer Bruce Smith sent a letter to Governor Tauese Sunia to let him know of the upcoming sale (which was publicly announced on Thursday).

He wrote, "I understand that the American Samoa Government has expressed concern regarding the sale of BHP Hawaii and its possible impact on the security of petroleum supply to the Territory of American Samoa. Given the current evaluations by the Source Evaluation Board regarding the selection of a terminal operator for your petroleum facilities, I wanted to contact you as soon as possible to tell you a little about Tesoro, but more importantly to emphasize the fact that we view American Samoa as an important and integral part of our Pacific operations."

Tesoro owns and operates an oil refinery in Alaska (slightly smaller than the Hawaii refinery) and has retail gas stations there and in the Pacific Northwest (e.g., Washington and Oregon). It is a primary supplier of jet and diesel fuel in Alaska as well (according to its own press release).

The company produces natural gas in Texas, Louisiana, Central America and South America.

The company has assets of $600 million and about 1,000 employees.

The company operates 20 marine terminals (fuel docks) around the Gulf of Mexico and on the U.S. West Coast.

Smith wrote Tauese that there are many similarities between Alaska and the Pacific, such as "a marine orientation in the Pacific Rim... and respect for operating in environmentally sensitive areas... Tesoro's experience will be invaluable as you move forward in your plans to upgrade American Samoa's petroleum terminal facilities."

The American Samoa Government is currently deciding who will get the five-year contract to manage the Gataivai Tank Farm and Utulei fuel dock.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com

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