March 7, 2017 / 1:18 AM / a year ago

Motiva Enterprises' co-owners to split U.S. refineries on May 1: sources

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The co-owners of the Motiva Enterprises LLC’s [MOTIV.UL] joint refining venture plan to end their partnership and divide ownership of three U.S. Gulf Coast refineries on May 1, Gulf Coast market sources said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A Shell logo is seen reflected in a car's side mirror at a petrol station in west London, Britain, January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

The co-owners, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Aramco, had previously targeted April 1 as the date to end their 20-year partnership.

A Shell spokesman early last month said the target date to divide the venture’s refineries and other assets was April 1, but the split could take place anytime in the second quarter.

Motiva, Shell and Saudi Aramco representatives were not immediately available on Monday to comment.

FILE PHOTO: Oil tanks seen at the Saudi Aramco headquarters during a media tour at Damam city November 11, 2007. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji/File Photo

Shell and Saudi Aramco said in March 2016 they would divide up the two-decade-old joint venture, which operates three refineries, including the United States’ largest, on the Gulf Coast.

The companies had originally targeted October 2016 for the split of assets, including pipelines and terminals as well as the refineries.

But sources told Reuters that the major sticking point was Shell’s demand for an up to $2 billion payment from Saudi Aramco as part of the breakup.

Under the plan for the division of assets announced last year, Saudi Aramco will retain the Motiva name and the 603,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, the country’s largest.

Aramco would also take over 26 distribution terminals and have exclusive license to use the Shell brand for gasoline and diesel sales in Texas, the majority of the Mississippi River Valley, and the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets.

Shell is slated to become sole owner of two Louisiana refineries with a combined capacity of 472,700 bpd and Shell-branded gasoline stations in Florida, Louisiana and the U.S. Northeast.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; editing by Chris Reese, G Crosse

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