Saudi Refining and Shell sign LOI to separate Motiva assets

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco), through its wholly owned Saudi Refining Inc. (SRI) subsidiary, and Royal Dutch Shell plc, through its US downstream affiliate, have signed a nonbinding letter of intent (LOI) to divide the assets of Motiva Enterprises LLC. The Motiva joint venture was formed in 1998 and has operated as a 50/50 refining and marketing joint venture between the parties since 2002. 

In the proposed division of assets, SRI will retain the Motiva name; assume sole ownership of the Port Arthur, Texas, refinery; retain 26 distribution terminals; and have an exclusive license to use the Shell brand for gasoline and diesel sales in Texas, the majority of the Mississippi Valley, the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. Shell will assume sole ownership of the Norco, Louisiana, refinery (where Shell operates a chemicals plant); the Convent, Louisiana, refinery; nine distribution terminals; and Shell-branded markets in Florida, Louisiana, and the Northeastern region. 

Shell Downstream Director John Abbott commented, "Motiva's performance has been transformed in the last two years. We propose to combine the assets we will retain from the joint venture with Shell's other Downstream assets in North America. This is consistent with both the Group and Downstream strategy to provide simpler and more highly integrated businesses which deliver increased cash and returns."  

Abdulrahman F. Al-Wuhaib, senior vice president, Downstream, Saudi Aramco, said, "Saudi Aramco subsidiaries and affiliates have had a presence in the US for over 60 years, and the Motiva joint venture with Shell has served our downstream business objectives very well for many years. However, it is now time for the partners to pursue their independent downstream goals. The Port Arthur refinery will advance Saudi Aramco's global downstream integration strategy through supply and trading, refining and fuels marketing, chemicals and base oils. Motiva's employees will continue to be critical to fulfilling our future growth potential in the Americas, reinforcing our reliable customer service and supporting the communities where we operate. We fully support Motiva's continuing transformation journey to become an autonomous integrated downstream affiliate."

Dan Romasko, Motiva president and CEO, said, "Motiva has benefited greatly from the nearly two decades of support and resources provided by Shell and Saudi Aramco. While the parties work toward definitive agreements, Motiva will remain focused on our growth agenda, running operations in a safe, environmentally sound and efficient manner while continuing to reliably serve our customers."

Both Motiva shareholders are committed to supporting the venture during this period of transition and assuring customer service and continued health, safety, and environmental performance. During the period of transition, shareholder financing support arrangements for Motiva remain in place, and both shareholders are committed to maintaining Motiva's balance sheet strength and liquidity.

Under the terms of the LOI, the partners will evaluate options and select an optimal deal structure with the objective of formalizing a definitive agreement to divide and transfer Motiva Enterprises LLC's assets, liabilities, and employees between the companies. The companies will make a further joint announcement in due course.

Additional details are as follows:

  • Cooperation between the companies also includes: Saudi Aramco Shell Refinery Co. (SASREF) – a 50:50 joint venture refining enterprise at Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia with a crude oil refining capacity of 305,000 bpd. Shell and Saudi Aramco also have a multi-year relationship in the Showa JV in Japan. Shell recently reached an agreement to sell shares representing a 33.24% shareholding in Showa to Idemitsu Kosan. Shell will retain a 1.80% holding in the company after completion later this year.

  • The refining assets from Motiva, which will be owned and operated by Shell, include the 230,000-barrel-per-day Convent refinery located in St. James Parish, Louisiana, and the 235,000-barrel-per-day Norco refinery located in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.

  • The refining asset from Motiva, which will be owned and operated by Saudi Aramco, is the 600,000-barrel-per-day Port Arthur refinery located in Port Arthur, Texas.

  • Distribution terminals, retail assets, branded, and commercial customer agreements will be divided by geography in a way to ensure each partner has an integrated and robust business.

  • SRI will have exclusive use of the Shell brand through a long-term license agreement in its area of operation.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Motiva Enterprises LLC refines, distributes, and markets petroleum products. With three refineries in the US Gulf Coast region, Motiva has a combined capacity of over 1.1 million barrels per day. The company's marketing operations support a network of approximately 8,300 Shell-branded gasoline stations in the eastern and southern US. Motiva is owned equally by affiliates of Saudi Aramco and Shell Oil Co.



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