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Rhône Energies enters negotiations for acquisition of Esso Fos-sur-Mer refinery

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Rhône Energies has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire the Fos-sur-Mer refinery and the Toulouse and Villette de Vienne terminals from Esso.

The proposed acquisition is subject to a formal information and consultation procedure with employee representative bodies. Its completion is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected by the end of 2024. The financial terms of the proposed transaction are confidential.

Rhône Energies was formed by Entara and Trafigura to combine the strengths of a proven refinery operator with a global market leader in energy and commodities. Entara was established by former executives of Crossbridge Energy who have a track record of managing and optimising refinery assets, including at the Fredericia refinery in Denmark. Entara will manage the Fos-sur-Mer asset, overseeing operations, maintenance, asset integrity, commercial, health, safety and environmental performance.

Trafigura is one of the world’s largest suppliers of energy and commodities, operating in over 150 countries and trading over 5.5 million bbl of oil and petroleum products every day. Trafigura has a 30-year history of working with refineries through direct investment, capacity utilisation and supply and offtake.

“We would be delighted to acquire and assume stewardship of the Esso’s Fos-sur-Mer refinery operations and look forward to engaging with the operational management, employee representatives and government stakeholders over the coming weeks and months to confirm our commitment to the operation and our plans for the future,” said Entara’s CEO, Nicholas Myerson. “We are committed to upholding the operation’s high standards of environmental responsibility, safety, and operational excellence.”

“The Fos-sur-Mer refinery is an efficient, flexible, well-run operation strategically located on France’s Mediterranean coast,” said Ben Luckock, Global Head of Oil for Trafigura. “The refinery will continue to be an important contributor to energy security in the region and would benefit from Trafigura’s global trading and logistics network. Oil and petroleum products will continue to play an important role in supporting growing global energy demand during the transition currently underway to a low-carbon economy.”

Rhône Energies intends to maintain the current workforce with approximately 310 members of staff who will transfer to Rhône Energies on completion of the proposed transaction. The company would also aim to maintain a competitive compensation and benefits programme for the workforce as well as learning & development opportunities.

Under the terms of the proposed acquisition, Trafigura would enter into a minimum 10-year exclusive crude oil supply and product offtake agreement, including ownership of crude oil and product stocks in tank. These agreements would ensure the refinery has a secure supply of on-demand feedstock at competitive costs, and a reliable off-taker of refined products destined to the domestic market. Rhône Energies would agree to continue to supply Esso SAF in the region.

With this proposed acquisition, Rhône Energies plans to capitalise on the refinery’s existing skilled teams and strong manufacturing performance. The company aims to further improve margin capture, crude flexibility, process utilisation and to maximize high value products, while investing in personnel and process safety.

Rhône Energies intends to invest in the sustainability of the site to reduce its carbon intensity footprint while also investing in growth projects enabling further co-processing of biogenic feedstocks to produce renewable fuels.

With a crude oil processing capacity of 140 000 bpd, Fos-sur-Mer benefits from direct access to a major port, competitive operating costs and the ability to process a wide range of crude oil feedstocks.

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