26 September 2012 21:19 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--France’s government will support efforts to find a buyer for the 161,800 bbl/day Petit Couronne refinery near Rouen in northwest France, but it will not buy the facility, a minister said on Wednesday,
Administrators have been trying to sell the refinery following the insolvency of Switzerland-based independent refiner Petroplus early this year.
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In televised remarks during a visit to Petit Couronne on Wednesday,
However, Montebourg ruled out that the state could acquire the plant.
“The government doesn’t have the technical expertise, and it doesn’t have the money in these times of tight budgets,” he said.
French media reported that there are two possible bidders for the plant - Hong Kong-based Alafandi Petroleum Group and Dubai-based Netoil.
However, according to a notice on Alafandi’s website, the company provisionally withdrew its bid last month to clarify “newly discovered information that could jeopardise this transaction process”.
Petit Couronne recently restarted operations after Shell agreed to supply the unit for a limited time. Shell had sold the refinery to Petroplus in 2008. The plant employs about 550 people.The plant supplies a number of downstream customers in the chemical industry, including French plants of US-based lubricants additives major Lubrizol.
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