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Shell Gives Up Largest US Refinery To Saudi Aramco

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Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco have finalized the agreement to split the assets, liabilities and businesses of their 50/50 refining and marketing joint venture in the U.S., Motiva Enterprises, targeting transaction closure in the second quarter this year, the Anglo-Dutch oil major and the Saudi oil giant said in separate statements.

The two companies had originally announced in March 2016 that they signed a non-binding letter of intent to divide the assets of Motiva Enterprises, a joint venture set up in 1998 and operated as a 50/50 refining and marketing joint venture since 2002.

Under the terms of the final negotiated transaction, Saudi Aramco’s wholly owned subsidiary Saudi Refining, Inc (SRI) will assume full ownership of the Motiva Enterprises LLC name and legal entity, including the 600,000-barrel-per-day Port Arthur,Texas, refinery—the largest in the U.S, Shell said in a statement on Monday.

Aramco will also have 24 distribution terminals, and Motiva will have the right to exclusively sell Shell-branded gasoline and diesel in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as the eastern half of Texas and the majority of Florida.

Shell, on the other hand, will become the sole owner of the other two Motiva refineries—the 230,000-bpd Convent, Louisiana refinery, and the 235,000–bpd Norco, Louisiana refinery. Shell will also own 11 distribution terminals, Shell-branded markets in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, a portion of the Florida panhandle, and the North-eastern region of the U.S. Shell will integrate these assets with its downstream business in North America.

Related: OPEC Sends Mixed Signals About Output Cut Extension

Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser said in the company statement:

“Saudi Aramco will provide Motiva with the strong financial support and necessary liquidity needed to maintain an investment grade credit rating and capitalize on growth and expansion opportunities to help the company become a highly competitive major downstream player in the U.S.”

Both companies said that subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017. The targeted date is April 1, Reuters quoted Shell spokesman Ray Fisher as saying in an email.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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