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Motiva to trade refined products apart from co-owner Shell

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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 19.31.15Motiva to trade refined products apart from co-owner Shell

HOUSTON, JUNE 11 | BY KRISTEN HAYS AND ERWIN SEBA

Motiva Enterprises said on Thursday it aims to trade its own gasoline, diesel and the components needed to make them in a new organization separate from its co-owner, Royal Dutch Shell.

Motiva, a 50/50 joint venture of Shell and Saudi Aramco , said in a statement that the move will more closely connect the company with fuels markets, customers and trading partners.

But Motiva said it will still rely on Shell to trade crude oil.

“With this change, we hope to provide greater value to them through more active participation in the market,” Motiva Chief Executive Dan Romasko said in the statement.

In an interview with Reuters in March, Romasko said the company was “coming into its own” under his tenure, which started in February 2014.

Motiva has moved out of Shell’s downtown Houston building and into its own office two blocks away, and formed its own human resources department.

And Romasko, a former head of operations for Tesoro Corp who also held logistics, supply and trading positions at ConocoPhillips, is leading a new project to combine Motiva’s pair of Louisiana refineries into one complex.

Romasko said in the March interview that Motiva still transacted its products and crude supply through Shell and that it was “obviously really deeply intertwined and engaged” with the co-parent.

“We jointly agreed on the value of Motiva gaining competence in that space so we can better guide the decisions that we need to make, what to buy and sell, that sort of thing,” Romasko said in that interview.

Motiva started negotiating term contracts for its gasoline and diesel products in late 2014.

The company’s new trading arm will expand those efforts and assume all products trading for transport fuels and feedstocks used to make them when Motiva’s existing refined products trading agreement with Shell expires late this year.

Romasko arrived at Motiva after it grappled with a $10 billion expansion of its 600,250-barrel-per-day Port Arthur, Texas refinery, now the largest in the United States.

It suffered setbacks that included having to basically start over in 2012 when thousands of gallons of caustic chemicals ruined new pipes upon startup.

The mishap took months to fix, further straining relations between Saudi Aramco and Shell. Saudi Aramco previously had slowed the project to curb costs.

Romasko said in March that the Texas expansion consumed much of Motiva’s attention from 2007 through early 2015, and it now could work on the Louisiana project to meet growing diesel demand while taking advantage of cheap domestic crude to lift returns for co-owners.

(Reporting by Kristen Hays and Erwin Seba; Editing by Paul Simao)

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