Hundreds of pieces of production equipment from Exxon's Imperial Oil refinery in Dartmouth will be sold in a live, two-day online auction later this month. 

Ravi Marwaha of NRI Global Inc. is handling the auction. He said most of the oil production pieces — such as industrial steam turbines, pumps and generators — will likely be bought by re-sellers who supply the oil industry and moved elsewhere in Canada and the United States. He also expects plenty of items will be sold and remain here.

"There is a lot of equipment for the local buyers. There is going to be a lot of tools and machine shop equipment, as well as a lot of vehicles. There are over 35 pickup trucks," Marwaha said.

Selling assets to recover costs

Exxon announced the closure of the Imperial Oil refinery in June 2013, saying it was converting the 95-year-old facility into an oil storage depot.

The company took a $260-million writedown and said it hoped to recover some of the costs by selling off the assets.

The liquidation sale will be held March 22 and 23 on The auction of surplus equipment is being held online for safety reasons at the request of Exxon, according to Marwaha.

"It is an active demolition site," he said. "It's much safer online. We have tonnes of pictures online to view the assets."

Lot items contain a wide assortment of industrial apparatus from electrical motors, pumps and valves, to boiler feed pumps and late-model steam turbines. There's even a plastic owl.

"Any oil refinery is a major industrial complex and it's definitely a large project for us. It's not something we haven't done before but it is a large project," said Marwaha.

Marwaha would not speculate on how much money the auction will make.

NRI Global has two months to remove and ship items that are sold. Merle MacIsaac, a spokesman for Exxon, said demolition at the 400-hectare site will take several more years.