Kuwait Petroleum International has cancelled a planned $1.4 billion investment in its 88,000 barrel per day (bpd) Rotterdam refinery and may sell it, a spokesman said, as Europe's refiners struggle with overcapacity and global competition.
"Now we have to look at all other options," spokesman Jan Maarten van der Steen said on Monday, adding that the company was talking to banks including HSBC about managing a possible sale.
Converting the Europoort refinery to a storage terminal or closing it entirely are possibilities, he said, although adding that closure was "not the option anyone wants".
"It's also our intention to keep all personnel on board," he said. "We are working on a new collective labour agreement."
Van der Steen said the company hoped to make a preliminary decision by spring 2015, though emphasising that talks were in early stages.
Industry sources said the refinery would have a hard time finding a buyer, given its small size and competitive position relative to much larger refineries in the Rotterdam oil hub and elsewhere in the region.
A union source said that converting the plant into a terminal would cut the staff to about 80 from around 350.
The refinery has been up for sale before, including an abortive 2007 deal in which Lukoil was the rumoured buyer.
The aborted investment, which the company had dubbed "Project Orange", would have added a 38,000 bpd hydrocracker, a new vacuum unit and several storage tanks.