Saudi Aramco and Shell have announced a plan to split the assets of their 50:50 Motiva refining and marketing joint venture in the US. While no transfer of capital is planned in the move, it would appear initially to offer Aramco the potential for some increase in crude supplies.

However in the longer term, breaking up the joint venture could bring easier transactions for both companies if and when proposed disposal programs go ahead.

The two companies announced on 16 March that they have...