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UPDATE 2-Former CEO of shut Philadelphia refinery seeks to buy the plant

Laila Kearney

(Adds background about potential buyers)

NEW YORK, Aug 28 (Reuters) - The former chief executive officer of Philadelphia Energy Solutions is seeking to buy and restart the 335,000 barrel-per-day PES refinery, which closed after a June fire, the former CEO and backers of the plan said in a statement on Wednesday.

Philip Rinaldi, who retired from PES in 2016, formed Philadelphia Energy Industries (PEI) as a vehicle to pursue the purchase, the statement said.

We can reinvigorate the site as an economic juggernaut that generates billions of dollars of revenue and provides thousands of high-paying jobs for our skilled professional and labor workforce, Rinaldi said in the statement.

PEI and RNG Energy Solutions, LLC have entered into a mutual cooperation agreement for the prospective development of renewable fuels and other projects together with the restart of the oil refinery "should PEI be ultimately successful in its acquisition efforts," the statement said.

My focus and drive in pursuing this acquisition is to revitalize, modernize, and develop the site and the strategic refinery business that has existed there for decades to their full potential, Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi said he had spoken with the leadership of the refinerys local union about the plan to acquire the refinery, the largest and oldest on the U.S. East Coast.

The financial details of the proposal were not made available.

Last week, biofuels company S.G. Preston Co became the first group to identify itself as a potential buyer of the PES site, which it wants to convert into a renewable energy operation.

The bankruptcy court overseeing PES' case will likely set a timeline for the submission of qualified bids, and the court will be required to sign off on any final deal.

PES filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 21, exactly a month after fire and blasts destroyed an alkylation unit at the PES plant. The company exited a previous bankruptcy in August last year.

PES shut its final crude unit in late July, and roughly 1,000 workers were laid off without severance pay or the option for continued health insurance, including 64 union members.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)