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Shell Said to Plan 10-Day Repair of Pernis Refinery Fire Damage

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By Nidaa Bakhsh

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc is planning to keep a gasoline unit at its Dutch Pernis refinery, Europe’s largest, shut for about 10 days of repairs following yesterday’s pipeline fire, a person familiar with the situation said.

The so-called fluid catalytic cracker, or FCC, is expected to be started up by mid-December after a pipeline connected to the unit is repaired, the person said, declining to be named because the information is confidential.

“We never comment on operational issues,” Wim van de Wiel, a Shell spokesman, said by phone today from The Hague, where the company is based.

The fire, which broke out yesterday, was in a bundle of pipelines and was caused by a gas leak, Van de Wiel said, declining to be more specific.

The Pernis incident follows a spate of refinery outages at a time of rising inventories and falling prices. Total SA was forced to shut a crude distillation unit at its Vlissingen plant in the Netherlands last week while it had to reduce fuel output at its Lindsey facility in the U.K. for unspecified issues.

The FCC at Pernis, which has a capacity of 50,000 barrels of gasoline a day, returned to service at the end of November after a two-month halt for unplanned repairs.

The Pernis refinery, near Rotterdam, has the capacity to process 416,000 barrels of oil a day.

Separately, a hydro-desulfurization unit at the Pernis plant was restarted Dec. 3 following a maintenance shut-down at the end of November, the person said. HDS units remove sulfur from crude oil before further processing in a refinery.

Gasoline prices for January loading in Amsterdam-Rotterdam- Antwerp, Europe’s trading hub, declined 4.6 percent to $337.70 a metric ton at 3:40 p.m. London time, according to PVM Oil Associates Ltd. Brent crude has fallen to $41.01 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nidaa Bakhsh in London at [email protected]

Last Updated: December 5, 2008 10:47 EST

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