US refiner Phillips 66 is reportedly in talks with potential buyer for its 50-year-old Alliance refinery in the US state of Louisiana amid continued losses.

The sale also comes in the wake of demand uncertainty for motor fuels as automakers shift their focus towards electric vehicles to reduce emissions, Reuters reported citing two people familiar with the matter.

Phillips 66 spokesman Bernardo Fallas was cited by the news agency as saying: “We expect the marketing process to continue over the next several months.

“We will make an announcement at the appropriate time if and when an agreement has been reached with a buyer.”

According to the US Energy Information Administration, five refineries in the US were forced to close and reduce 4.5% of oil processing capacity to 18.13 million barrels per day (bpd) due to drop in demand as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic also forced the oil processing capacity by 4.5% to 18.13 million barrels per day (bpd).

Earlier this month, Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The US refining business in the future is going to be smaller, not bigger.”

The firm is considering developing components for electric car batteries and expand lower-carbon fuels supply in an effort to shift away from fossil fuels.

Located on the Mississippi River in Belle Chasse, the Alliance refinery has throughput capacity of 255,000 barrels per day and processes mainly light, low-sulfur crude oil.

It produces a high percentage of gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels in addition to petrochemical feedstocks, home heating oil and anode-grade petroleum coke.