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Reuters: Shell exec hopes for go-ahead on US refinery plan

Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:54 PM BST

SINGAPORE, April 20 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell’s top downstream executive said on Friday he hoped a $5 billion project to more than double the capacity at its Motiva joint-venture refinery in Texas will be granted final approval this year.

Motiva Enterprises LLC, a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Aramco, has been considering expanding its 285,000 barrels per day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas, refinery to as much as 600,000 bpd, which would make it the largest in the United
States.

“We’ll see how the economics work out and what the final costs are, I personally hope that it will go ahead,” Rob Routs, Shell’s Executive Director Downstream, told Reuters in an interview when asked about the plan.

He said the group was already spending money on clearing the site and reiterated that they hoped to make a final decision in the second half of this year.

Motiva first announced plans to expand a U.S. refinery in September 2005 and chose Port Arthur the following April, but it missed an earlier to goal for final authorisation last year.

Shell Oil Co. President John Hofmeister said last September that the Motiva board hoped to decide on the project around the end of 2006, but last month he told Reuters that he hoped to make a decision whether to proceed with the expansion this year.

“(We) want to have as much information and as much confidence in the estimates before we go ahead,” Routs said, when asked about the apparent delay.

The company has already hired infrastructure firm Bechtel Corp. and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. to plan the project, which they had hoped would be completed in 2010.

For a related interview click on: [ID:nSP277262]

(c) Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

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