"We exchanged ideas," Casey said. "We didn't agree on everything, but I thought we had a very good discussion."
Sunoco spokesman Thomas P. Golembeski said MacDonald and two other executives "discussed the rationale behind our decision to exit refining, the challenges we face as a company, and the ongoing process to sell the refineries or find alternative uses. It was a very productive meeting."
In September, Sunoco announced plans to shut down or sell its two remaining refineries, the Marcus Hook plant and its huge Philadelphia refinery. Sunoco said it wanted to exit unprofitable manufacturing and buy its fuel from other suppliers, and to concentrate its business on retail fuel sales and logistics.
ConocoPhillips Co. followed suit and decided to shut ts refinery in Trainer.
Sunoco idled Marcus Hook in December and later said it had received no offers to keep it operating as a refinery. The company said it has received some interest in the Philadelphia refinery, but plans to shut it down in June if a buyer is not found.
In January, Casey asked the refineries' owners to reveal the economic analyses that led to their decisions to sell or close the plants. He urged the executives to "publicly disclose all relevant information so the public can make a full accounting."
The senator was less confrontational on Thursday.
"Whatever the relevant agency or elected official, we've got to be working together," he said. "It doesn't help to have shouting matches. We have to sit down and do our best to come up with a future for these refineries."
The tone of Sunoco's relations with public officials appears to have become less harsh since MacDonald took over this month from former CEO Lynn Elsenhans.
C. Alan Walker, Pennsylvania's secretary of community and economic development, told the House Appropriations Committee March 1 that Gov. Corbett's administration was in weekly contact with the company, which still provides more than 7,000 non-refining jobs, including about 3,000 in the state.
Walker said he was confident that two of the three refineries would survive.
Contact Andrew Maykuth at 215-854-2947, @Maykuth on Twitter or email@example.com