Saudi Arabia divests of Providence fuel terminal

Say goodbye to Providence, Saudi Arabia.

The corporate dissolution of Motiva, a multinational partnership between Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco that operates the LNG and ethanol facility on Allens Avenue, means the Saudi Arabian government will no longer be doing business on the South Providence waterfront.

“Rhode Island will go to Shell,” said Motiva spokeswoman Angela Goodwin. “It’s a matter of location. It has nothing to do with what is there.”

The breakup became final last week, just as the Providence facility was dealing with an ethanol train that had come off the tracks and almost into a public road.

Per the deal, Aramco will retain the company name, $3 billion in debt and most of the oil refineries in the south and southwest. Shell gets $2.2 billion and 11 facilities in the northeast, including the distribution terminal in Providence.

According to Motiva, in Providence it “has 26 tanks which store six (6) different grades of petroleum products, and various additives. Products are received via ships and barges and shipped via truck or barges.” Michael Sullivan, who manages the Providence Motiva facility, declined to comment on the deal.

Aramco is owned and operated by the Saudi royal family. The Wall Street Journal referred to it as the “Saudi state oil company, known as Aramco.” Last year Aramco was reorganized to separate it from the Saudi government. “The Kingdom has approved the restructuring of Saudi Aramco, a move that will see it separated from the Petroleum Ministry,” reported The Arab News last year.

Royal Dutch Shell, of which Shell gas stations are a subsidiary, is headquartered in the Netherlands.

Motiva’s Rhode Island corporate filing lists it as a foreign corporation out of Houston, Texas, and many of the board members are either Dutch or Saudi Arabian. One of the board members, Khalid Alnaji, is a registered agent of Saudi Arabia, according to The Nation, and is also on the board for the American Petroleum Institute.

The Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island, and others, have been advocating to cease ethanol trains in Providence, as is the case in Boston, and to stop any expansion of LNG, saying the business pits multinational profits against neighborhood health and prosperity.

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