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RUBIS pulls trigger on Chevron buy-out

A french multinational energy company has pulled the trigger on the purchase of Chevron’s fuels, marketing and aviation business in The Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos.

Vitogaz, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RUBIS, the petroleum storage and distribution firm, finalized the deal with the oil and gas giant yesterday.

In the deal, RUBIS gains ownership of 39 retail stations, eight aviation facilities, six fuel terminals, one joint operation at the Nassau airport terminal and a commercial and industrial fuels business.

“This sale is part of our ongoing effort to restructure our global downstream portfolio and deliver strong returns for our investors,” said Glenn Johnson, Chevron’s general manager for Downstream Caribbean.

In a press release, the company added that the transaction should be finalized during the second quarter of 2012 following receipt of local regulatory and government approvals.

When contacted by Guardian Business, Zhivargo Laing, the state minister of finance, said he was unaware of the full details concerning the sale and could not comment on government approvals at this time.

Questions posed to Chevron were not answered before press time.

This most recent transition follows another major transition by Chevron to RUBIS in July, which included 174 service stations operating under the Texaco brand, an equity interest in an associated refinery operation, proprietary and joint-venture terminals and aviation facilities and Chevron’s commercial and industrial fuels business.

In 2006, Chevron regained exclusive rights to the Texaco brand name in the U.S.

Last month, the Bahamas Petroleum Retailers Association (BPRA) was engaged in a prolonged dispute with Texaco over the eviction of Raymond Claridge, who continues to operate a station in Nassau.

Claridge is currently in the midst of legal proceedings to keep his station open and claims he was never given a reason why Texaco chose to evict him from the premises.

The BPRA claims the treatment is part of a greater problem in terms of the treatment by wholesalers of retailers, citing poor maintenance and unequal contracts as grievances.

Phillip Kemp, the interim president of the BPRA, does not expect the sale to change their relationship in The Bahamas.

“I don’t know how much it’ll change. You’re swapping out one foreign entity for another,” he said.

“I could be wrong – I don’t know a lot about the deal. But I don’t see it changing our relationship much.”

Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, is one of the world’s largest energy companies in the world.

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