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Reuters: Shell mulls shifting Pernis focus to wider exports

Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:26pm GMT 

AMSTERDAM, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is considering shifting the focus of its Dutch Pernis refinery towards wider exports and away from traditional markets such as Germany, a spokesman for the oil major said on Wednesday.

Shell has said it is mulling a 1 billion euros ($1.42 billion) investment in Pernis, Europe’s biggest refinery, over the next five to seven years, but no firm decisions have been made.

A company spokesman said that staff at the 412,000 barrels a day refinery have been told that “the focus will be towards the ocean instead of Germany, because we see a declining demand for petrol in Germany.”

“We have to look at exports to other countries in Europe and also perhaps abroad. If you look at the last couple of years, sometimes we export petrol even to the United States — in future we will focus on exporting to other countries rather than Belgium and Germany,” he said.

He could not comment on the type of product the refinery was likely to focus on.

But an industry source said on Wednesday that the shift would involve concentrating more on gasoline, the world’s leading transport fuel, and less on products such as gas oil, a heating fuel used in central Europe and the northeastern United States.

“They want a shift towards a product that is more competive on the world market,” the source told Reuters.

He said the firm was likely to invest in building extra units and equipment to shift the emphasis to gasoline. If they are given the go-ahead, the investments would be made between 2009 and 2013, the source said.

Shell has been revamping its refining portfolio worldwide, selling off higher cost plants and working on expansion at other sites. (Reporting by Catherine Hornby, editing by Anthony Barker)

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