Aramco Buys out Shell in Sasref JV
Saudi Aramco has agreed to buy Shell’s 50% stake in their Sasref oil refinery joint venture for $631 million. The deal, one of several that Aramco has struck in recent weeks, is part of the oil giant’s plan to increase the complexity and capacity of its refineries as part of a long-term downstream growth strategy.
“Saudi Aramco will take full ownership and integrate the refinery into its growing downstream portfolio,” said Abdulaziz al-Judaimi, Aramco’s senior vice president downstream. “Sasref will continue to be a critical facility in our refining and chemicals business and we look forward to further optimizing its performance and long-term viability.”
The Sasref refinery at Jubail in Saudi Arabia has a capacity of 305,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), producing mainly liquefied petroleum gas, kerosene, diesel, fuel oil and sulfur.
The transaction is expected to complete later this year, subject to receiving regulatory approval.
Shell said the sale is part of an ongoing effort to focus its refining portfolio. In May 2017, the Anglo-Dutch energy and petrochemical group also sold to Aramco its 50% share in Motiva Enterprises, which operated a refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, USA.
Also two years ago, Shell quit the Saudi Petrochemical (SADAF) joint venture with SABIC. The Saudi chemicals giant paid $820 million for the 50% stake, exercising an option in the original agreement that allowed it to renew or terminate the partnership by the end of 2020. SABIC will merge SADAF into Arabian Petrochemical (Petrokemya), with the former company ceasing to exist.
Aramco has been on a spending spree in the past few months. Just last week, it announced plans to take a 17% stake in South Korea’s Hyundai Oilbank while earlier this month, the energy group was reported to be in “serious discussions” to acquire up to 25% of Reliance Industries’ refining and petrochemicals business.
In March, Aramco agreed to take a 70% controlling in SABIC from the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, paying $69.1 billion, while at the end of 2018 it completed the buyout of partner Lanxess in their Arlanxeo synthetic rubber joint venture.