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Blackstone eyes British petrol station network

Blackstone is considering deals that would give the private equity group a 1,200-strong network of UK petrol stations. The company yesterday played down reports that offers have been made, but it is understood to be showing an interest in 780 Total-branded garages put up for sale by the French oil giant in September, and also 460 UK service stations put on the block by Murco Petroleum, a subsidiary of US-based Murphy Oil.

A spokeswoman for Total said the sale process for its UK network "remains on-going" and the company cannot comment on "market rumour".

Both sets of discussions are at a very early stage, the Murco talks in particular, according to sources.

If either deal goes ahead it will be Blackstone's first foray into UK petrol retailing.