By TAOS TURNER
BUENOS AIRES -- Argentine oil and gas company Bridas Corp. on Thursday completed its purchase of ExxonMobil Corps local downstream unit Esso.
The transaction turns Bridas, which runs Argentina's Pan American Energy, into a fully-integrated oil and gas producer by adding a refinery and more than 700 gas stations in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to its business.
The former Esso company, now called Axion Energy, will continue to use the Esso brand at its gas stations, Axion said in a statement.
Axion said it plans to raise the production capacity of its refinery by 60% for diesel and 50% for gasoline.
Bridas first announced the acquisition of Esso in March 2011. The deal included a 90,000 bpd oil refinery in Buenos Aires Province and more than 500 gas stations in Argentina and 220 gas stations in Paraguay and Uruguay.
At the time it was made public, the deal was expected to turn Bridas into Argentina's No. 2 oil and gas company after YPF SA.
Bridas didn't disclose the value of the transaction, which people working in the oil and gas sector have estimated at between $800 million and $850 million.
Bridas is jointly owned by Argentina's Bulgheroni family, through Bridas Energy Holdings, and China's Cnooc Ltd.
Dow Jones Newswires