Refinery deal with Shell
Interests in two refineries are to be swapped by Shell and Statoil under a memorandum of understanding between the two groups.
The non-binding deal gives Shell a holding of roughly 22 per cent in Statoil's Mongstad facility near Bergen, while Statoil is to acquire 10 per cent of the Anglo-Dutch oil major's Pernis refinery in the Netherlands.
A period of negotiation will now follow, with the agreement planned to come into force on 1 January 2000.
Today's owners are to due to remain as operators of their respective facilities, with full decision-making powers. Nor will the partnership affect the affiliation of workers at the two refineries.
Products will be divided between Shell and Statoil in accordance with their respective interests. Sales of products and deliveries to their marketing companies will be handled by each partner's own product sales unit. The agreement accordingly involves no market cooperation.
"This agreement helps to realise our goal of developing Mongstad into one of Europe's best refineries in partnership with another company," says Leidulf Ramstad, senior vice president for Refining.
Mongstad's strategic advantage lies in its unique proximity to North Sea oil production. This will be exploited by the two partners, who both derive substantial volumes of oil and gas from Norwegian fields.
"Shell's great expertise in refining makes it a very good partner for us," says Mr Ramstad. "The interest in Pernis gives us a stake in Europe's biggest refinery, centrally located in the largest European product market."