April 10, 2017 / 7:57 PM / a year ago

YPF among bidders for Shell's Argentina refinery -sources

BOSTON/BUENOS AIRES, April 10 (Reuters) - Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF SA is among the bidders for Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s refinery and network of gasoline stations in Argentina, according to two people familiar with the process.

Other nationally owned oil companies are interested in the assets but YPF is seen as having an edge because of its strong position in Argentina, the sources said.

The assets, including a 113,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Buenos Aires, were put on the block as part of Shell’s program of asset sales to pay down debt after acquiring rival BG Group last year.

Shell confirmed it is selling the assets but declined to comment on potential bidders, said spokeswoman Kimberly Windon.

YPF declined to comment on the potential bid.

The assets are valued at less than $1 billion, according to the sources.

Oil majors including Shell, Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp are divesting refineries to focus on more lucrative oil production and exploration, leaving room for regional players like YPF to grow.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said last year the company planned to pull out of downstream oil and gas in Argentina, which includes refining and selling fuels.

Goldman Sachs has been retained to market the assets, according to one of the two people.

Upstream activities, which include oil exploration and production, are not under review, she said.

Argentine newspaper La Nacion previously reported that YPF was interested in the refinery and gas stations. (Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault in Boston and Juliana Castilla in Buenos Aires; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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