Canada’s Irving Oil has agreed to acquire Whitegate oil refinery in Ireland from Phillips 66, expanding its presence across the Atlantic basin.

However, the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Whitegate refinery in Cork, which is currently owned and operated by Phillips66, is the only refinery on the island of Ireland and it supplies up to 40% of the main products on the market.

The refinery has been sold for less than $90m, two people familiar with the transaction told Reuters.

The Irish government has always maintained that continued operation of the refinery on a commercial basis is highly desirable from an energy security and economic perspective.

Ireland, TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, said: “Security of energy supply is important to ongoing economic growth and development and a pillar of our energy policy.”

“This is very positive, not just in relation to maintaining oil refining on this island, but also for Cork and for the country in general. The continued operation of the refinery at Whitegate on a commercial basis is an important part of our security of supply"

The Whitegate refinery was privatized following its sale to Phillips 66 in 2001. The refinery currently employs 160 people and many contract workers.

 Earlier, Phillips 66 made several attempts to sell the refinery due to poor refining margins.

According to Irving, Whitegate has the capacity to process nearly 75,000 barrels of crude oil per day, besides producing transportation and heating fuels such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene.

Irving Oil vice president and chief operating officer Mark Sherman said: “The operational performance of Whitegate is strong, it has well established and diligent maintenance schedules and we are struck by the positive working environment seen amongst its people. In many respects, our refineries share common qualities and it’s one of the reasons we found this opportunity to be so compelling.”