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The Wall Street Journal: Shell May Sell Its 50% Stake In German Pipeline Operator

By BENOÎT FAUCON
August 15, 2007; Page A7

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is considering the sale of its 50% stake in German natural-gas-pipeline operator BEB Transport & Speicher Service GmbH, people familiar with the matter said.

German newspaper Manager Magazine reported that Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp., which owns the remaining 50%, are planning to sell the company. The people familiar with the matter, who weren’t aware of Exxon Mobil’s plans, said Shell has yet to make a decision to divest itself of its stake.

One person said Shell had been approached by several parties to buy BEB. The person said the joint venture could have a value of €1 billion, or nearly $1.4 billion. BEB operates 3,100 kilometers of natural-gas pipelines mostly in northern Germany.

The Anglo-Dutch oil company is looking at potentially swapping its stake against one or several assets elsewhere, not necessarily to obtain cash from it, the person said.

Shell has said it expects to offload about $9 billion in assets in 2007.

A Shell spokesman said Shell is always reviewing its portfolio on a case-by-case basis but wouldn’t comment on “speculation.”

An Exxon Mobil spokeswoman said, “We do not comment on market rumors.”

Write to Benoît Faucon at [email protected]

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