China's Sinopec nears deal to buy Chevron's South African assets -sources

Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:36pm GMT
 

By Jessica Resnick-Ault and Florence Tan

NEW YORK/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China's Sinopec is nearing a deal to buy Chevron's South African oil assets for up to $1 billion to secure its first major refinery on the continent, several people familiar with the matter said.

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, was the last bidder remaining, and close to a deal with Chevron after an auction that spanned more than a year for its refinery, retails business and storage terminals.

French oil firm Total and commodity traders Glencore and Gunvor looked at the assets, Reuters reported last year.

The South Africa government's desire to keep the refinery operating has nevertheless proven to be a major stumbling point for buyers who would prefer to convert the site into a more profitable storage terminal, sources said.

Sinopec is in discussions with the government on ways to keep the 110,000 barrels per day refinery in Cape Town running, but talks could still fail, sources said.

The sources declined to be identified because they were not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.

Chinese oil companies and merchant traders have become more visible in chasing refinery assets that come on the market as oil majors reshape asset portfolios.

Sinopec declined to comment.   Continued...

An employee walks past oil tanks at a Sinopec refinery in Wuhan, Hubei province, April 25, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
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