Ebrahim Patel, minister of economic development, has no favourite in the battle over Chevron South Africa's assets; for him the public interest conditions that would be attached to the sale are of greater importance. Patel said this week the government had no objection to Chevron selling its South African and Botswana assets, but his department wanted to engage with the buyer. Refining is a strategic industry, so the government needs to be informed of plans to change ownership. Patel said that early last year Chevron advised the government that the sale was a done deal and Sinopec, the Chinese petroleum and petrochemical group, was the winning bidder for a 75% stake. The Competition Commission has approved the deal with Sinopec, but Glencore and Chevron's BEE minority shareholder Off The Shelf (OTS) Investments are still contenders. Minority shareholder Patel's department began discussions on public interest conditions with Sinopec that were "quite far advanced" when OTS, which owns...

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