Eni and Austrian oil and gas producer OMV agreed to pay about $5.8 billion for a 35 percent stake in the Abu Dhabi state oil company’s refining unit.
The deal values Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. Refining at $19.3 billion, Adnoc said in a statement.
The companies also agreed to partner in a trading unit that will sell the refined products to international buyers.
Adnoc plans to retain its remaining share of the refining business for now but could be “open to engage in another competitive bidding process to sell another 5 to 10 percent,” Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive officer of the government-run company, told Bloomberg TV.
Middle Eastern crude producers, including state-owned companies in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, are diversifying away from sales of raw oil by boosting their capacity to process it into refined fuels and petrochemicals. They have been seeking partnerships with foreign firms to attract the latest technologies and accelerate these expansion plans.
Adnoc Refining operates the Ruwais and Abu Dhabi refineries, which can process a combined 922,000 barrels of oil per day. The company plans to invest $45 billion by 2024 to add 600,000 barrels a day of capacity to the Ruwais refining and petrochemicals complex.
Eni and OMV, which is part-owned by the Abu Dhabi government’s Mubadala Investment Co., are partners in an Adnoc offshore natural gas concession. Italy’s Eni won rights earlier in January to explore in two offshore blocks.
“In Adnoc, we found the best unique opportunity to grow our downstream capacity, creating flexibility, more efficiency, a lot of synergy because we won a lot of new licenses in producing, developing and exploration assets in Abu Dhabi,” Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi told Bloomberg TV.
OMV will own 15 percent of the refining unit and trading business, while Eni will hold 20 percent. Adnoc said it expects to export about 70 percent of its refined products and that the trading joint venture will start the physical and derivative trading of those volumes as early as 2020.
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