The familiar green and white Hess signs that dot the Woodbridge landscape and much of New 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 it would begin either closing or selling off its gas stations, although a press release accompanying the news said that their closure, along with other moves to improve the company's bottom line, would be instituted by 2014.
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 stated in the 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 E.P.A. regulations.
The refinery was closed at the end of February.
The Hess retail marketing division and company 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.