Aramco and Hellas Say Good-bye


The principal Greek shareholder in refiner Motor Oil (Hellas) S.A. has bought out its partner, a subsidiary of petroleum giant Saudi Aramco, the companies announced last week. Motor Oil Hellas is Greeces sole producer of base oils and finished lubricants.

Aramco Overseas Co. has been a part-owner in Motor Oil Hellas since it purchased a 50-percent stake in the company in 1996. That position was reduced to 41.9 percent when Motor Oil Hellas conducted a public stock offering in 2001.

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Aramcos remaining share was purchased by Motor Oil Holdings S.A., a member of the Vardinoyannis Group, one of Greeces largest business conglomerates.

Aramco officials said the company enjoyed its partnership in the joint venture but that its long-term strategy has shifted focus to development of refining capacity in Saudi Arabia and downstream opportunities in high-growth Asian markets.

Motor Oil Hellas owns and operates a refinery in Agii Theodori, approximately 70 kilometers west of Athens. In addition to producing fuels, the refinery includes a base oil plant with capacity to make 3,600 barrels per day of Group I stocks. A finished lubricant blending and packaging plant is at the same site.

The worlds largest supplier of crude oil, state-owned Aramco retains interests in several other base oil producers. It is majority owner of two refineries in Saudi Arabia. It is a 50-50 partner with Shell in the U.S. downstream business Motiva, which owns a base oil plant in Port Arthur, Texas. It also owns a 35-percent share in S-Oil, operator of a plant in Onsan, South Korea.

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