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Shell talks to sell refineries to India’s Essar ‘going well’: report

BERLIN (AFP) —

Talks with British energy giant Royal Dutch Shell to sell three European refineries to Indian conglomerate Essar are “going well,” an Essar manager told Germany’s Die Welt edition to be published Monday.

Shell in October announced the “exclusive” talks to sell the assets, comprised of Britain’s Stanlow refinery in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, and two German facilities in Hamburg and Heide.

“The fact that the exclusive negotiations have been extended beyond November shows that the discussions are going well,” the paper quoted an unnamed Essar manager as saying.

An Essar union official was also quoted as saying that the negotiations were on the right track.

The paper said that the sale of the refineries was being negotiated at over one billion euros and that Shell would also like to take a 10-percent stake in Essar.

Shell is looking to save cash and slash costs as it fights back against a global economic downturn that has slashed energy demand and oil prices.

It is also seeking to restructure its operations to focus on huge refinery complexes such as at Port Arthur, Texas or Amsterdam, rather than on small plants such as at Stanlow.

Copyright � 2009 AFP All Rights Reserved

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