Independent refiner PBF Energy Inc. revealed that its board of directors has authorized the buyback of up to $500 million of PBF Class A common stock.

PBF isn’t obligated to purchase any shares under the repurchase program, and repurchases may be suspended or discontinued at any time without prior notice, the New Jersey-based refiner announced Dec. 12 in a press release.

“We did not predict a return to share repurchases so quickly and consider this an upside surprise,” Wells Fargo analysts Roger D. Read, Lauren Hendrix Walker and Rosalie Chen wrote Dec. 12 in a research report. “Combined with the recent achievement of zero net debt and the dividend restatement of $0.20/share announced during the third quarter 2022 earnings, this announcement presents additional upside for the refiner.”

The deal represents approximately 10% of PBF’s equity market capitalization, according to Wells Fargo.

“We forecast PBF to return approximately $108 million to shareholders in the form of dividends and $250 million in buybacks in 2023. This amounts to returning approximately 45% of 2023 estimated gross free cash flow. Based on our assumed pace of share repurchases, the $500 million authorization should be completed in 2024,” the analysts said.