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ndtvprofit.com: Shell to appeal Argentine order

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Associated Press
Friday, September 7, 2007 (Buenos Aires):

The local unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC said Thursday it plans to appeal a shutdown order for its Buenos Aires refinery, a day after the government said it lacks environmental permits and impact studies.

Shell Argentina President Juan Jose Aranguren said operations at the facility in the capital were being scaled back in response to the order.

“A shutdown will take five days to implement, and would take five days to restore to full capacity,” he said.

The plant turns much of its oil into gas and diesel fuels for vehicles, and also processes jet fuel, lubricants, solvents and paving asphalt.

It supplies about 14 per cent of the country’s service stations, but Aranguren warned that Shell would not import fuel to make up for any shortfall.

“If you want to know if we are going to assume the loss of importing all of the product that (the government) won’t let us produce, we aren’t going to do it,” he said.

Aranguren said the company would enter talks Thursday night with the government in preparation for an appeal, and would seek a court injunction if it fails.

Pollution

Authorities ordered the close Wednesday, saying inspections at the Shell refinery in the Dock Sud area of Buenos Aires turned up pollution in soil samples.

In a statement, the government also accused the plant of drawing water from the nearby River Plate estuary without necessary permits, having deficient procedures for handling waste and lacking environmental impact studies.

Argentine officials recently accused Shell of failing to fully supply domestic fuel demands as required by law in the middle of a winter power crunch. Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno fined the company, but a judge rejected his efforts to imprison local Shell representatives.

http://www.ndtvprofit.com/homepage/storybusinessnew.asp?id=40488&template=&cache=9/7/2007%2010:55:22%20AM

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