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    Phillips-Tosco Deal Nears Approval

    Companies may not have to shed assets, newspaper reports.

    The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expected to approve within days Phillips Petroleum's $7 billion purchase of oil refiner Tosco without requiring any retail or refinery divestments, the USA Today reported on Thursday.

    To ease regulators' concerns, Phillips has agreed to continue to supply a non-gasoline-related product to Shell Oil, the report said, citing unnamed sources familiar with the deal. The merger would create the second largest U.S. refiner and make Phillips the nation's fifth-largest gasoline retailer, USA Today said.

    FTC staff members were concerned the deal could harm Shell, which makes a solvent used in paint thinner and lighter fluid. Shell buys needed additional supply from Tosco. Phillips is the only other producer and competes with Shell to sell the solvent to manufacturers, the newspaper said.

    In the wake of intense Shell lobbying at the FTC, the companies have agreed to provide the product to Shell at a reasonable price for 20 years, the report said.

    The deal was expected to close in the third quarter and would instantly establish Phillips, a large oil producer, as a big refiner and marketer.

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