Shell in talks over Texaco lubricants

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The Independent Online
NEW YORK - Shell's chemical division is engaged in exclusive negotiations to buy Texaco's lubricant additives business, writes Larry Black.

Texaco had agreed last April to sell the business for dollars 195m ( pounds 130m) to Huntsman Corporation as part of the latter's dollars 1.06bn purchase of the former Texaco Chemical Company. But both said at the time that they would search for a third party to buy the lubricants business, which Utah-based Huntsman would have had to purchase by the end of next month.

Neither Shell nor Texaco would discuss the price now under discussion at the negotiations, which began more than a month ago. But oil industry analysts said it was likely to be 'somewhat less' than dollars 195m.

Shell said its acquisition was still subject to agreement on several details, and will require approval of a number of government agencies. Control of the manufacturing plants in Texas, Rio de Janeiro and Ghent, Belgium, would be split between Shell Chemical, a subsidiary of Shell's US arm, and Shell International Chemical, a service company of the parent, Royal Dutch/Shell Group.

The sale excludes Texaco Chemical's fuel additives operations, which the oil company says fall within its renewed focus on core oil and gas business.

Earlier this year, Texaco embarked on a divestment strategy for speciality chemicals, propylene and commodity chemicals.