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Total in talks with PetroChina to sell China refinery stake

Total is in talks with PetroChina to sell its stake in a Chinese refinery after nearly two decades of investment, according to Reuters.

Total was the first foreign firm to get a toehold in China's refining business, as an investor in the 200,000 barrels-per-day West Pacific Petrochemical Corp. (WEPEC) in the northeastern port city of Dalian in the mid-1990s. The plant was then designated as the country's first and only export-oriented refinery.

Total owns 22.4% of the plant, which started operations in 1996. It is jointly owned by state-run Sinochem Corp. and firms backed by the Dalian city government, but PetroChina manages and operates it.

The Reuters report noted that industry officials familiar with WEPEC's operations said Total has decided to divest the refinery stake due to years of losses the plant incurred, and also due to lack of access to the local Chinese market.

 

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