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BBC News: Shell to appeal refinery shutdown

Friday, 7 September 2007, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK

Royal Dutch Shell is to appeal against a shutdown order imposed on its refinery in Buenos Aires.

The Argentine government ordered the closure after finding the site lacked the proper environmental permits and impact studies.

Shell defended its environmental record but said it had begun the shutdown.

It also warned the move may lead to an energy shortage as the plant provides 15% of Argentina’s total refining capacity and 20% of its fuel supplies.

“All of our operations were and still are conducted according to the local legislation and stringent Shell standards,” the company said in a statement.

“Shell Argentina is analysing the documentation received and allegations made by the Environment Secretariat,” the statement added.

Latest spat

According to the government, the closure was ordered after inspections found pollution in soil samples.

Officials also accused the firm of taking water from the nearby River Plate estuary without a permit and having insufficient waste handling procedures.

The spat is the latest in a series of disputes between Shell and the Argentine government.

Two years ago President Nestor Kirchner encouraged citizens to buy “not even a can of oil” from Shell after it raised prices.

The Commerce Secretary Guillermo Morena recently fined Shell Argentina for failing to fully supply domestic fuel demands during a winter power shortage.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6983025.stm

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