CC, Mayer Brown advise on Shell’s oil refinery divestment to Klesch

Clifford Chance and Mayer Brown have advised on the sale of a Royal Dutch Shell refinery in Germany to private equity house Klesch & Co.

John Wilkins
John Wilkins

Finance partner John Wilkins led the Clifford Chance team acting for Shell on the sale of the 90,000-barrels-per-day Heide Refinery.
In London Wilkins was assisted by energy and ­infrastructure partner Nigel Howorth and competition partner Oliver Bretz. German managing partner-elect Andreas Dietzel advised on the German aspects of the transaction.

An Anglo-German Mayer Brown team advised Klesch on the deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, with London corporate ­partner Andrew Stewart leading for the US firm.

Wilkins said: “This sale hopefully reflects renewed market interest in European oil and gas assets.

“Many oil majors are ­aiming to divest their ­downstream assets at the moment, and while this is the first sale of a European refinery since Lukoil’s Vissingen Refinery in 2009, we believe that downstream asset sales will increase during the remainder of 2010.”

The deal also includes the sale of associated chemicals, bitumen and distribution infrastructure, as well as some related marketing businesses.

Earlier this year the oil giant reduced its roster of legal advisers, with Cravath Swaine & Moore, Simmons & Simmons and Slaughter and May joining Clifford Chance on the exclusive panel.

The Heide agreement is the latest step in Shell’s downstream strategy to reduce its net refining capacity by 15 per cent. Its in-house legal team was led by Ikramul Haq.

Klesch, meanwhile, could be on the verge of launching a wave of similar acquisitions, with the company reported to have signed an $8bn (£5.17bn) deal to invest in a 300,000-barrels-per-day refinery in Libya.