Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Shell in talks to sell Malaysia fuel stations to Saudi Aramco: Sources

Energy behemoth Shell is in discussions with Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant of Saudi Arabia, regarding the potential sale of its gas station business in Malaysia, sources familiar with the matter revealed.

With approximately 950 fuel stations under its ownership across Malaysia, Shell's network ranks as the second-largest in the nation, trailing only behind the state-owned Petronas.

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While both Shell and Saudi Aramco have refrained from commenting on the ongoing negotiations, insiders suggest that the deal could be valued at an impressive $1 billion.

Talks commenced in late 2023, and insiders anticipate a potential finalization of the deal in the forthcoming months. Sources briefed on the matter estimate the deal size to range between 4 billion to 5 billion ringgit, equivalent to $844 million to $1.06 billion.

Shell's operations in Malaysia extend beyond its extensive fuel station network, encompassing the sale of industrial lubricants, offshore crude oil and natural gas production in Sarawak and Sabah states, and participation in two liquefied natural gas (LNG) ventures. This move aligns with CEO Wael Sawan's strategic focus on divesting non-core assets to prioritize profitability.

The decision to offload its Malaysian fuel stations mirrors Shell's ongoing efforts to streamline its operations, exemplified by its divestment of 500 gas stations slated for this year and the next, alongside the sale of its Singapore refinery and petrochemical complex. This divestiture strategy echoes Shell's previous move to sell its Bukom Island refinery in Singapore, which supplies the Malaysian network.

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While Saudi Aramco currently lacks a presence in the Malaysian fuel station market, it holds a 50% stake in the Pengerang refinery in Johor, a joint venture with Petronas. The refinery, boasting a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), serves both domestic and export fuel needs.

Although Aramco operates petrol stations in its native Saudi Arabia and maintains joint ventures with major players like TotalEnergies and S-Oil Corp in other regions, its potential entry into the Malaysian market signifies a strategic expansion move amidst a dynamic energy landscape.

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