gas station

Under the terms of the agreement, the distributors will own and operate the gas stations while Imperial will continue to supply fuel.

Alimentation Couche-Tard, one of the five distributors, will purchase 279 gas stations in Ontario and Quebec for about $1.2bn.

Couche-Tard Global Fuels & North-East Operations group president Jean Bernier said: "Imperial operates an attractive convenience and fuel network with excellent locations, well-upgraded facilities and a professional team that would complement our existing business in both Ontario and Québec.

"These sites are among the best assets in these provinces."

Additionally, 7-Eleven Canada agreed to acquire sites in Alberta and British Columbia.

Other distributors include Harnois Groupe pétrolier, Parkland Fuel and Wilson Fuel.

The divestment is a part of the company’s effort to focus on expanding oil sands and refining businesses.

Imperial Oil chairman, president and CEO Rich Kruger said: "We believe these agreements represent the best way for Imperial to grow in the highly competitive Canadian fuels marketing business.

"The Esso brand has a leading presence in Canada through our distributor network and strong prospects for continued growth to the benefit of our customers and shareholders."

The transaction, which is expected to close by the end of 2016, is subject to regulatory approvals.

Imperial Oil currently operates over 1,700 Esso retail stations in Canada.

Image: An Esso-branded service station Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Photo: courtesy of Stu pendousmat (talk)/Wikipedia.