Murco has reacted to an article in the September issue of Forecourt Trader about the sale of 54 filling stations that it operates.

In a statement it said: “Referring to the recent news item about Patron Capital buying a portfolio of 54 stations (which appeared on page five of the September edition of Forecourt Trader), Murco wishes to make it clear that these sites remain on long-term lease to the company and that Murco continues to be the operator and tenant of the stations.

“The suggested link of this deal to the ongoing Murphy Oil Corporation process to sell Murco is unfounded. From Murco’s perspective, it simply has a new landlord with whom it looks forward to building a strong working relationship.”

The portfolio of filling stations was bought by Aberdeen-based oil industry veteran Alasdair Locke and private equity firm Patron Capital Partners, the team which previously bought Motor Fuels Group at the beginning of 2012, in a deal worth more than £50m.

The identity of the seller has not been revealed and both Patron Capital Partners and MFG refused to comment on this and whether there might be any tie-up of the newly acquired sites with MFG.

However, sources within the industry suggested that the portfolio was the remainder of the 63 Petrol Express sites that were sold by GNE Group in 2008 to a consortium also led by Locke.