Swiss commodities trading company Gunvor Group is a step closer to acquiring a Dutch refinery from Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI).

The company announced on Thursday that negotiations to buy the Europoort refinery in Rotterdam are now in their final stage. The deal still remains subject to regulatory approval and an employee consultation process.

Gunvor already operates two other European refineries, in Ingolstadt, Germany, and Antwerp, Belgium.

The transfer of ownership to Gunvor would allow the struggling refinery to continue operating. Bloomberg reported that rival bidder HES International BV had planned to cut the plant’s refining capacity and convert some to storage.

The 88,000 barrel per day plant consists of several units for refining crude oil, together with a gasoline production facility and a lube oil plant. It produces a wide range of oil products for various markets, both within Europe and further afield.

According to KPI, Kuwaiti crude oil has a specific composition that makes it an excellent base material. At its refineries, the company refines or processes crude oil into finished products including propane, butane, gasoline, kerosene, gas oil/diesel, sulphur, jet fuel and bitumen.

From Europoort, these products are transported via a distribution centre and tank terminal located at the refinery.

In a statement, Gunvor said that among the most important criteria for KPI in its sale of the asset were continuing with the refinery operations and finding a financially solid, experienced, reliable buyer.

No financial details of the deal have been disclosed.