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Shell, Essar Aim To Close Refineries Deal By Christmas -Sources

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

December 11, 2009

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Essar Oil Ltd. (500134.BY) aims to agree terms for the purchase of three European refineries from Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) before Christmas, two people familiar with the matter told Dow Jones Newswires Friday.

Shell and Essar aimed to conclude negotiations by Nov. 30, but had to extend that deadline. Progress toward a deal has been slower than expected and there is still some due diligence work to complete, said one person. A price for the transaction isn’t yet agreed, the person added.

Indian firm Essar is still waiting to get all of its financing in place for what is likely to be an all-cash deal, the person said.

Essar is in talks to buy Shell’s Stanlow refinery in the U.K. and the Heide and Harburg plants in Germany.

Shell plans to sell off about 15% of its global refining capacity, or about 600,000 barrels a day of capacity, in the next three years as part of its restructuring program aimed at increasing profitability and efficiency. It agreed in September to sell its fuel and lubricant businesses in Greece for about EUR260 million.

Company Web sites: www.shell.com; www.essar.com

-By James Herron, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)20 7842 9317; [email protected] (Sunil Raghu in New Delhi contributed to this article.)

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