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Saudi group eyes German refinery

09 May 2011

A consortium of Saudi Aramco and German investors is interested of acquiring a northern German oil refinery owned by ConocoPhillips. In July 2010, the US player said it would either sell the 260,000 bpd Wilhelmshaven oil refinery or turn it into an oil distribution terminal as part of its strategy of cutting downstream operations and output had been stopped.

Thomas Reiter, a public relations advisor working for the consortium, told a German radio that a bid for the refinery is being made by a consortium comprising former refinery chief Hans van Weelden, German businessman Carsten Hippenstiel and a Saudi Arabian trust with links to the royal family. "For the best part of two months the London branch of Deutsche Bank that has been mandated to run the sale hasn't reacted to our audited negotiation offers," said Reiter, managing director of public relations company Berlin Relations GmbH. He said investment firm Berolina Handelskontor Beteiligungsgesellschaft MbH, an affiliate of German project development company Tewet AG, teamed up with Saudi Aramco to look into the sale. Conoco bought the plant from commodities firm Louis Dreyfus in early 2006, since when it has undergone several periods of reduced production due to poor economic conditions. Plans to upgrade the refinery had repeatedly been postponed in recent years and were scrapped entirely in 2010.

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