Shell Deer Park, Texas, refinery sale delayed pending regulator's approval

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Royal Dutch Shell is pictured during a launch event for a hydrogen electrolysis plant at Shell’s Rhineland refinery in Wesseling near Cologne, Germany, July 2, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The sale of Royal Dutch Shell (LON:)’s controlling interest in the joint-venture Deer Park, Texas, refinery to partner Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has been delayed pending approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“While we were hopeful we could conclude the sale of the Deer Park refinery earlier in the CFIUS review process, we’re still targeting late 2021 as a closing date for the transfer of Shell’s interest in the refinery,” Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith said in an emailed statement.

Shell announced in May it would sell its 50.005% interest in the 302,800 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery along the Houston Ship Channel to partner Pemex for $596 million. The sale was expected to close as early as Wednesday.

Sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday only approval of the sale by CFIUS, a powerful federal interagency committee that reviews sales of assets with national security implication in the United States, was holding up the transfer of control of the refinery to Pemex.

Until Tuesday, sources familiar with the sale had said both Pemex and Shell expected to sale to close by Wednesday. Also, a top refinery manager told the Houston Chronicle last week the sale would be complete on Dec. 1.

Once the refinery sale is complete, Shell will retain control of its neighboring wholly-owned chemical plant and the company will have only one refinery in the United States, the 230,611-bpd plant in Norco, Louisiana.

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