Glencore eyes Shell Singapore assets as CNOOC pulls out

Glencore is working jointly with Indonesia’s PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical to evaluate the assets. — Reuters

SINGAPORE: Swiss miner and commodities trader Glencore is looking at buying Shell’s oil refinery and petrochemical units in Singapore as the oil major seeks a buyer for the sites after earlier suitors dropped out, several industry and trading sources say.

Glencore is working jointly with Indonesia’s PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical to evaluate the assets, two of the sources said.

The assets include a refinery capable of processing 237,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil and a one-million-tonne-per-year ethylene plant located on Bukom Island, just south of Singapore, as well as a plant that produces mono-ethylene glycol on Jurong Island in the South-East Asian city-state’s west.

Buying the Bukom and Jurong assets would give Glencore a physical foothold for its trading in Asia’s main oil hub. However, the ageing sites has struggled to make money on its products, particularly for petrochemicals, and faces competition from newer refineries in China and elsewhere.

Shell, which announced a strategic review of the assets last June, declined to comment.

Glencore said it does not comment “on market rumour or speculation”, while Chandra Asri did not respond to a request for comment.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley is working with Glencore on a potential deal, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The bank declined to comment.

Reuters reported in December that Shell shortlisted at least four companies including state-run China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), top global energy trader Vitol and private Chinese chemicals firms Eversun Holdings and Befar Group to submit formal bids by the end of February.

However, CNOOC and Befar have opted out, several sources with knowledge of the situation said.

CNOOC, Befar and Eversun didn’t respond to requests for comment. Vitol declined to comment. — Reuters

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