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Saudi Aramco in Talks to Buy Shell Gas Stations in Malaysia

Four unnamed sources have told Reuters that Saudi state-run oil giant Aramco is in talks to potentially acquire Shell’s billion-dollar gas station business in Malaysia, where the Dutch supergiant owns a network of nearly 1,000 fuel stations. 

Neither Shell nor Aramco would comment on the rumor of the talks for Reuters; however, one source told the news agency that talks began late last year and could be finalized in a matter of months. 

A second source told Reuters that the deal could be worth over $1 billion. 

While Shell owns a network of just under 1,000 fuel stations in Malaysia, along with a 50% share in the 300,000-barrel-per-day Pengerang refinery, Aramco presently does not own any fuel stations in the country, though it does operate stations in other venues alongside French TotalEnergies and South Korean S-Oil Corp, Reuters noted. 

The alleged talks are taking place against the backdrop of Shell’s attempt to sell a refinery in Singapore that supplies the fuel stations it owns in Malaysia. If reports are true, talks are progressing against the backdrop of new offshore exploration deals handed to Shell in late January when seven new production-sharing contracts were awarded. State-run Petronas awarded contracts for six exploration blocks and one discovered resource opportunity (DRO) in the Sarawak basin and the Northwest Sabah basin as well as for basins in Peninsular Malaysia, World Oil reported in late January. 

Shell has been refocusing on its most profitable businesses and is said to be seeking to divest 500 fuel stations this year and next. In total Shell owns some 950 fuel stations in Malaysia. 

Shell is also pursuing efforts to sell its Bukom refinery and petrochemical plant in Singapore, The Star of Malaysia reported. 

In addition to offshore exploration, fuel stations and a refinery, Shell also produces oil and gas offshore Malaysia and is a JV partner in LNG projects there, as well.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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