A Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in London. File picture: Toby Melville

Sydney - Royal Dutch Shell said on Friday it was selling its 870 Australian service stations and an oil refinery to Rotterdam-based energy trader Vitol for A$2.9-billion.

The move is in line with sales of refineries in Britain, Germany, France, Norway and the Czech Republic.

Shell is also selling downstream businesses in Egypt, Spain, Greece, Finland and Sweden.

Ben van Beurden, the Anglo-Dutch firm's chief executive, said in a statement that “we are making tough portfolio choices to improve the company's overall competitiveness”.

Staff at the refinery, service stations and other businesses being sold will kept on by Vitol.

Shell branding will be retained. - Sapa-dpa