Pettit Oil shuts down; familiar business millions in debt
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An idled fuel delivery truck sits next to the shuttered Pettit Oil tank truck fuel depot on Marine Drive in Port Angeles on Friday after the company closed for business the day before. —Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

Pettit Oil, a Lakewood-based petroleum distribution company with facilities in Port Angeles, Forks and Port Townsend, among others, has closed its doors after filing for bankruptcy protection in December.

Company executives reached by phone Friday directed inquiries to attorney Brian Budsberg, based in Olympia, though they did confirm the closure affects all of Pettit's facilities, which includes centers in Lakewood, Hoquiam, Everett and Bremerton.

Budsberg could not be reached for comment.

One company official said the closure was official as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Calls to the company's main 800 number and to its distribution facility in Port Angeles are met with the following recorded message:

“We regret to inform you that after many years of service, Pettit Oil has closed its doors and is no longer in business. We appreciate your many years of loyalty as a customer.”

The company reported assets of about $18.7 million and liabilities of roughly $22.5 million in a Nov. 25 petition filed in bankruptcy court.

A meeting of potential creditors of Pettit has been set for March 10 in Courtroom J of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tacoma, 1717 Pacific Ave., according to court documents.

The bankruptcy petition lists Pettit's largest secured creditors as KeyBank, owed about $11.3 million, and U.S. Bank, owed $8.8 million.

Pettit employed about 200 people and was listed as the state's 33rd-largest private company by the Puget Sound Business Journal in 2011, according to the company's website.

In a motion seeking approval to sell substantially all of Pettit's assets filed in bankruptcy court Thursday, Budsberg wrote that the company was rendered “financially too weak to be profitable” by financing problems, selling a portion of its business and buying a heating oil supplier in early 2013.

Pettit bought the heating oil and commercial fuel lubricants distribution assets of Tacoma-based SC Fuels last February, according to Pettit's website.

Pettit Oil President said then that the acquisition expanded the company's footprint in Puget Sound and on the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas.

SC Fuels served more 35,000 customers annually and was the largest petroleum distributor on the West Coast when Pettit bought the company, according to the Pettit website.

Ken O'Hollaren, interim executive director of the Port of Port Angeles, said he heard about Pettit's closure Friday morning.

Pettit owes the port $2,170 — rent for this past November and December — for two third-of-an-acre parcels Pettit leases from the port next to the company's Port Angeles distribution center on Marine Drive, O'Hollaren said.

He said Pettit has leased one parcel since 1984 and the other since 1999, adding that the company has been a good tenant and paid its rent on time except for what it now owes.

“If the account becomes uncollectible in the near future, it would be written off, but we don't consider [that] until at least a year,” O'Hollaren said.

Pettit has been in business for more than 75 years, according to its website, and distributed heating oil across 12 counties, including Clallam and Jefferson.

The company also supplied Chevron, Shell and Phillips 66 fuels and lubricants to the marine, commercial and automotive industries.

In 2012, Pettit transported more than 96 million gallons of petroleum products and collected revenues of roughly $319.1 million, according to the bankruptcy filing.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 19. 2014 2:10AM
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