The future of Pennzoil-Quaker States stake in Excel Paralubes was a hot topic of private discussions last week at the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association Lubricants and Wax Meetingin Houston. Officials with Shell – which is divesting the stake as a condition of its recent acquisition of Pennzoil-Quaker State – acknowledged fielding a number of inquiries. But they also indicated that they will not rush to sell an asset that they deem valuable.
A joint venture with ConocoPhillips, Excel Paralubes owns the continents second-largest base oil refinery – a Westlake, La., facility with capacity to produce 21,300 barrels per day of Group II stocks. Pennzoil-Quaker State owned a 50-percent interest, but the U.S. Federal Trade Commission told Shell to sell it because it believed that Shell would otherwise control too much of the markets Group II capacity.