Divestment “priority focus” for Shell Singapore petrochemical assets

Fanny Zhang

07-Dec-2023

SINGAPORE (ICIS)–Divestment will be the way to go for the Singapore petrochemical assets of Anglo-Dutch energy giant Shell, with three Chinese firms reported to be in the shortlist of bidders.

Shell’s energy and chemical assets on Bukom and Jurong Island in Singapore, include a 237,000 bbl/day refinery and a cracker with a 1.15m tonne/year ethylene capacity.

“Following the strategic review [of the Singapore assets], divestment is our priority focus now,” a Shell spokesperson told ICIS in an e-mailed statement.

Timeline and further details of the planned divestment were not disclosed.

“Singapore’s position as a trading and marketing hub to serve our customers in the region remains important,” the spokesperson said.

Divestment was among the options considered by Shell for its Singapore assets upon announcing a strategic review of all its global assets.

In line with the asset review, Shell announced on 1 November the sale of its 77.4% stake in a Pakistani-listed subsidiary to Saudi Arabia’s Wafi Energy for an undisclosed amount.

The sale marks the Anglo-Dutch energy giant’s exit from Pakistan after more than 75 years.

STRONG INTEREST FROM CHINESE FIRMS
Singapore is Shell’s largest petrochemical production and export centre in the Asia Pacific.

Based on a 6 December report by newswire agency Reuters quoting unnamed sources, four companies were shortlisted as bidders for Shell’s Singapore assets, three of which are Chinese companies.

Chinese state-run offshore oil producer CNOOC, Fujian-based private chemical producer Eversun Holdings and Shandong-based Befar Group made it to the list, along with global commodity trader Vitol, according to the report.

Reuters reported that the companies have been asked to submit formal bids by the end-February, with the transaction expected to close by end-2024.

Shell neither confirmed nor denied the report, while the three Chinese companies have yet to reply to ICIS’ queries at the time of writing.

A few months ago, Chinese isocyanates Wanhua Chemical, along with Chinese petrochemical major Sinopec were reported to be among those interested in Shell’s Singapore assets.

Wanhua Chemical president Kou Guangwu told ICIS in late November that the company has no intention to acquire any refinery asset in short term.

Focus article by Fanny Zhang and Pearl Bantillo

Thumbnail image: A view of Brani terminal port in Singapore, 22 November 2023. (By HOW HWEE YOUNG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

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