Mercuria agrees to take stake in ChemChina's oil refining system: sources

LONDON (Reuters) - Global energy trader Mercuria Group has agreed to take an interest in the oil refining system of China’s ChemChina, sources familiar with the matter said.

As part of the deal, state-run ChemChina would increase its stake in Mercuria, one of the world’s largest oil trading firms. ChemChina already holds a 12 percent stake in the Swiss-based company and would remain a minority shareholder.

The deal, if completed, would be the first time a global trading house has gained a stake in Chinese refineries.

ChemChina operates the country’s largest refining assets outside state oil majors. It has total crude processing capacity of 530,000 bpd, including three plants in eastern Shandong province.

“ChemChina will inject assets into Mercuria...(which) include some stakes in several Shandong-based refineries,” said one source briefed on the matter.

Two sources added that as part of the deal Mercuria may also participate in ChemChina’s global trading operations.

A ChemChina media official did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The deal, agreed in Beijing, would give Mercuria its first stake in crude refining to go alongside its interests in oil transport, storage and upstream operations.

Reporting by Aizhu Chen in Beijing and Julia Payne in London; Editing by Toby Chopra