Forget the announcement you might have seen a month or so ago that San Antonio-based Valero
Instead, Total has opted to exercise its pre-emptive rights to scuttle the Valero deal, and instead sell the 45% share, which is currently owned by Dow Chemical
For its part, Dow is attempting to unload a number of assets to pay off a $9.2 billion bridge loan. The loan was taken down earlier this year when Dow acquired Rohm and Haas for about $16 billion.
While Valero has had its eye on expansion in Europe, the new deal will serve two other purposes: Total is desirous of cozying up to Russian energy companies, while the big Russian energy companies have been seeking opportunities to expand overseas. So, while Valero had announced an agreement to buy Dow's stake in Vlissingen, the U.S. refiner was ultimately squeezed by Total, which acquired and simultaneously sold Dow's portion of the unit to the Russian company.
But the Netherlands refinery deal is clearly only a part of an intensifying globalization movement. Indeed, it appears that PetroChina
Of the companies mentioned above, my inclination is to look hard for investment purposes at Dow Chemical and Total. Dow has undertaken the cleanup of its balance sheet with impressive speed, and is involved in major projects around the world, including Saudi Arabia and China. Beyond that, each quarter I'm impressed by the variety of Total's accomplishments and its ability to communicate them effectively to the investing public.
Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. He welcomes your questions or comments. Total SA is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.