10 July 2012 16:24 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--A French ministry has received a letter of interest from a potential buyer for LyondellBasell’s mothballed 105,000 bbl/day Berre-l'Etang refinery near Marseille, it said on Tuesday.
The ministere du redressement productif (ministry for industrial renewal) said it would send a technical team to Berre next week to further study the matter.
Houston-based LyondellBasell spokesman David Harpole told ICIS that the ministry informed the company about “an inquiry about possible interest in our Berre refinery.”
Harpole said that the name of the interested party was not disclosed. LyondellBasell was contacted through the ministry and the company, for its part, has not yet received a letter of interest, he added.
“We will need to begin a process of assessing whether this is a qualified buyer, and if so, we look forward to entertaining discussions with them about the possible purchase of the refinery,” Harpole said.
LyondellBasell mothballed the unprofitable plant early this year after failing to find a buyer. The company plans to keep the refinery idled through to the end of 2013 while it continues to explore opportunities for a possible sale, Harpole said.
Minister Arnaud Montebourg visited the Berre refinery six weeks ago. The French government is keen to find a buyer for the plant and save the affected jobs.
In addition to the refinery, LyondellBasell’s Berre site includes a polyolefins complex consisting of a steam cracker, a butadiene extraction unit, and polypropylene and polyethylene plants. According to ICIS, the steam cracker has an ethylene capacity of 460,000 tonnes/year.
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