Rhône Energies, a consortium comprising Entara and Trafigura, has entered into an exclusive negotiation with Esso, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, for the acquisition of the Fos-sur-Mer refinery in France.

The deal also includes the Toulouse and Villette de Vienne terminals.

The proposed acquisition would see Trafigura entering into a long-term agreement for a minimum of ten years to supply crude oil and purchase refined products.

This arrangement is expected to provide the refinery with a stable supply of feedstock and a consistent buyer for its products.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  

The transaction is contingent upon a formal consultation with employee representatives and must receive regulatory approval.

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The acquisition is anticipated to be finalised by the end of 2024.

Entara will be responsible for managing the Fos-sur-Mer facility. It will oversee the refiner’s asset integrity, commercial, environmental, health, maintenance, operations and safety performance.

Entara CEO Nicholas Myerson said: “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.”

Rhône Energies said it will retain the existing workforce of approximately 310 employees, who will join the company upon completion of the deal.

The Fos-sur-Mer refinery has a processing capacity of 140,000 barrels per day.

Trafigura global head of oil Ben Luckock said: “The Fos-sur-Mer refinery is an efficient, flexible, well-run operation strategically located on France’s Mediterranean coast.”

Earlier this year, Angus Energy and Trafigura’s subsidiary signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the development of the UK’s largest potential subsurface porous rock storage reservoir at the Saltfleetby gas field in Lincolnshire.