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Reuters: Shell to shut Pernis cat cracker in mid-March

Wed Mar 5, 2008 7:56am EST 

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is set to shut a catalytic cracker at its 412,000 barrels a day Dutch Pernis refinery for planned maintenance from mid-March, an industry source said on Wednesday.

The source said the unit, which he described as one of five at Europe’s biggest refinery, would be shut for three to four weeks. He said preparations were already under way at the refinery to gear up for the maintenance.

“They are busy preparing to shut it down at the moment,” the source told Reuters by telephone.

A Shell spokesman declined to talk about specific plans but referred to comments made by the oil major’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser in January that some refineries would start maintenance plans in the first quarter, including Pernis.

The oil major has said it plans to shift the focus of Pernis towards wider exports and away from traditional markets, and that it is considering investing 1 billion euros ($1.52 billion) in the refinery over the next five to seven years.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby, editing by James Jukwey)

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