The familiar green and white Hess signs that dot highways and much of Jersey may soon be no more.
Hess Corporation announced Monday in a letter to shareholders at their annual meeting that it was divesting itself of its retail gasoline and convenience store operations, in an effort to restructure the company and improve its balance sheet.
The move will affect 1,350 gas stations - many owned by Hess itself - that operate in 18 states on the Eastern Seaboard. The gas stations serve as many as 1.3 million customers a day, according to a report in Supermarket News.
Hess did not say when they would begin either closing or selling off their gas stations, although a press release accompanying the news said that the gas stations closure, along with other moves to improve the company's bottom line, would be instituted between now and 2014.
"Our long-standing commitment to deliver secure supply, competitive prices, and industry-leading service to our customers is part of our brand and will not change. Operated by great people, our businesses are strong, profitable and will be well situated for the future," a Hess spokesperson said.
The divesting of the company's gas station arm is part of a multi-year effort of Hess to "transform" itself into an oil 'exploration and production' firm, as they stated in their release.
The changes began in January, when Hess announced it would be permanently shutting its oil refineries, including the one located in the Port Reading section of Woodbridge. Hess said it was leaving the gasoline refining business because of weak demand and the cost of complying with EPA regulations.
The refinery was closed at the end of February.
Hess's retail marketing division and the company's headquarters is located in the Hess corporate headquarters building on Route 9 in Woodbridge. The firm has said that the structure, an iconic landmark in the township, will remain open despite the divestiture of its various enterprises.
Retail Hess locations locally include Manasquan and Bradley Beach.