Conoco Sells German Refinery

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ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, will sell its Wilhelmshaven oil refinery in Germany to Hestya Energy BV, a privately held Dutch company, for an undisclosed sum. The refinery has not been operational for most of the past two years, but the Dutch firm plans to restart it.

Texas-based ConocoPhillips (COP) is selling the German refinery as part of its previously announced plan to part with up to $17 billion in assets to raise cash. Last month, the company said it will spin-off its downstream business to shareholders next year.

ConocoPhillips has been trying to either sell the 260,000 barrels-a-day refinery or turn it into an oil distribution terminal as part of its strategy of cutting downstream operations as weak fuel demand has pummelled European profit margins, according to Reuters.

Conoco canceled plans to upgrade the refinery in July 2010 amid weak demand in Europe. The transaction is expected to close later this year.