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THE NEW YORK TIMES: Shell Sells Stake in China's Largest Refiner


Published: March 18, 2004


LONDON, March 17 - The Royal Dutch/Shell Group sold its 2.1 percent stake in China Petroleum and Chemical, China's biggest refiner, on Wednesday, raising $742 million.


BP sold its stake in China Petroleum, known as Sinopec, in February, and analysts had been speculating for nearly a month that Shell would follow.


The shares of Shell's two component companies, Royal Dutch Petroleum, based in The Hague, and Shell Transport and Trading of London, both rose in trading on Wednesday.


In the United States, both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Shell's disclosure in January that it had overstated its proven reserves of oil and natural gas by 20 percent.


Shell's former chairman, Sir Philip Watts, who was ousted on March 3, has hired the law firm of Cowell & Mooring, based in Washington. Sir Philip is "cooperating fully with the company and will be cooperating with the other investigations,'' Joseph Goldstein, a lawyer with the firm, told Bloomberg News.


Mr. Goldstein did not return calls to his offices in Washington or London on Wednesday.

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