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Mexico Makes Strategic Move To Snag U.S. Refinery

Shell has struck a deal with its partner in the Deer Park refinery, Pemex, to sell the facility. The deal was instigated by Pemex, not Shell.

"Shell did not plan to market its interest in the Deer Park refinery; however, following an unsolicited offer from Pemex, we have reached an agreement to transfer our interest in the partnership to them," Shell's Downstream Director, Huibert Vigeveno, said in a press release.

The $596-million deal for the Houston, Texas, facility will give Mexico's state-owned oil and gas company full control over the 340,000-bpd facility and, according to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, help Mexico become self-sufficient in gasoline and diesel within the next two years.

"Today, we closed the operation to buy the Deer Park refinery in Houston, Texas owned by Shell. Now Pemex will have 100% of the shares. The most important thing is that in 2023, we will be self-sufficient in gasoline and diesel; there will be no increases in fuel prices," Lopez Obrador said in a tweet.

"In this way, we are going to stop buying fuel and gasoline abroad. Pemex is going to process all the crude oil it is going to convert into diesel into gasoline. We are going to be self-sufficient by 2023," the president added.

Shell, meanwhile, will retain control of a chemicals production facility at the site of the refinery.

At the same time, the supermajor is evaluating plans for another refinery, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The company had a suitor that offered $1.25 billion for the facility, but Shell rejected the bid. It was the second by that investor, American Clean Energy Refining, which earlier offered $1.75 billion for the refinery before Shell idled it last year.

"Despite an extensive marketing process, a viable buyer was not identified," a Shell spokesman said as quoted by Reuters. "Shell considers a wide range of qualifications and factors including a prospective buyer's ability and experience to operate complex manufacturing assets safely."

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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