THE potential sale of Shell’s massive oil refinery in Ellesmere Port has moved a step closer.
The company has entered into exclusive negotiations with energy firm Essar to sell off the Stanlow complex in Oil Sites Road.
Back in August, Shell undertook a review to determine the best long-term ownership options for the refinery and associated marketing businesses.
They have confirmed there are no plans to close the plant, which employs 900 staff.
In a statement on Friday, the company said: “Shell can confirm that we are in negotiations with Essar for the potential sale of Stanlow, Heide and Harburg refineries.
“For the time being Shell will not be holding discussions with any third party other than Essar, although this does not guarantee a sale and it is too early for Shell to confirm a deal or comment on timescales.
“Shell has an obligation to ensure best value is being achieved with all its assets.
“All long-term ownership options are being considered for Stanlow, which could include the sale of the refinery.
“If a deal is pursued, the refinery would be sold as a going concern.
“If no deal is pursued, Stanlow will be retained in the Shell portfolio. There are no plans to close the refinery or associated local marketing businesses.
“Shell will continue to carry out its normal activities safely, delivering excellent customer service. As ever, safety remains the top priority.”
Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Andrew Miller said: “If the business is sold we need to make sure they have a long-term vision for Stanlow, and have a commitment that they will protect the terms and conditions of employment.”