In a move that would leave it with only three refineries in the US, Shell is looking for buyers for its 144,000-bpd Anacortes refinery in Washington, according to Reuters, which obtained its information from an unnamed source.

The move, which would mean Shell has put 7 US refineries up for sale (5 per cent of the country’s refining capacity), would mean its refining operations in North America would be concentrated in the Gulf Coast – with two refineries in Louisiana and one in Texas.

The sale would form part of a divestment program announced by the Anglo-Dutch supermajor. It envisages the offloading of £3.8 billion worth of assets last year and this year, each.

Last year Shell sold its Martinez, California refinery, and it also has a Canadian facility up for sale – the 75,000-bpd Sarnia refinery in Ontario. The Californian deal, which is with independent refiner PBF Energy Inc, will see the supermajor get up to £700 million. 

Its remaining US refineries, should this deal go through, are Louisiana (with a combined capacity of half a million barrels daily), and Texas (with a capacity of 340,000 bpd).

But buyers are difficult to come by. A Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. said to Reuters of the deal: “When some of your really big companies have stopped buying refineries, that really slows things down,”. 

Matt Flanagan, an executive from energy advisory firm Opportune, added: “Refiners don’t want to overpay for an asset with environmental liabilities that might require unknown capital expenditure to meet future requirements.”

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20th January 2020