Shell stepped up its disposal programme today as it agreed to sell an Australian refinery and petrol station business to Swiss oil trading giant Vitol for A$2.9 billion (£1.6 billion).
The sale, which will also see the Abu Dhabi Investment Council taking a stake, covers Shell’s Geelong refinery and 870 forecourts.
The disposal also includes Shell’s Australian bulk fuels, bitumen and chemicals unit and part of its lubricants business in the country. “Australia remains important to Shell, but we are making tough portfolio choices to improve the company’s overall competitiveness,” said chief executive Ben van Beurden.
Shell’s extensive Australian oil and gas exploration and production business is not affected by the deal, nor its aviation fuel operation.
Unveiling his first set of results since taking the job, van Beurden said last month that 2014 would be a year of “changing emphasis” as he unveiled a 71 per cent dive in fourth- quarter profits to $2.1 billion. The shares rose by 6.5p to 2202p.