Shell talking to two buyers for Montreal refinery - minister

02 June 2010 19:14  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Shell is in advanced talks with two potential buyers for its 130,000 bbl/day refinery in Montreal, Quebec’s provincial economic development minister Clement Gignac told regional television in webcast remarks on Wednesday.

Industry sources told ICIS news that the refinery would stop base oil and wax production in June.

Gignac said that neither buyer seemed to have put forward an offer Shell could accept, he said. He did not identify the potential buyers. The Quebec government was concerned about the 500 workers the Montreal refinery employs.

Meanwhile, Montreal’s La Presse reported that Shell had rejected one offer and given that buyer a late Wednesday deadline to come up with a better bid.

Shell said last year it was seeking to sell or close the refinery. In January this year, it said it planned to convert the refinery to a fuel terminal.

Shell media officials declined comment. A law firm charged with finding buyers for the refinery also declined comment, citing client confidentiality.

A spokeswoman for a group of Shell Montreal refinery workers said she was waiting for further announcements from Shell or the ministry and would not comment at this time.

In March 2009, Shell’s Canadian affiliate PTT Poly Canada said it would permanently an unprofitable 95,000 tonne/year polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT) plant in Montreal. That facility was later bought by Portuguese firm IMATOSGIL GROUP, which planned to convert it to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) production.

In 2008, Shell cancelled plans for a possible grassroots refinery at Ontario's petrochemicals hub in Sarnia.

Shell had said it was also reviewing downstream operations in Germany, the UK and elsewhere, with two refineries likely to be sold.

Additional reporting by Heather Doyle

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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