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Shell to Start Clyde Refinery in ‘Next Few Months’

By Nidaa Bakhsh

March 17 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc, one of Australia’s four oil refiners, expects its Clyde plant near Sydney to start operations in the “next few months” after being closed since November for maintenance.

“Lots of work needed to be done to make it more reliable,” Mark Gainsborough, vice president of supply strategy and portfolio, said in an interview today in London.

Shell shut the 85,000-barrel-a-day refinery at the end of November for maintenance to address unscheduled outages that disrupted production through last year. The company, based in The Hague, said last month it’s been unable to resume operations pending a labor agreement.

Europe’s largest oil company is running its Geelong plant in the state of Victoria at full speed to meet a shortfall created by the Clyde closure, Gainsborough said. It is also importing products from Singapore to supply customers, he said.

The Clyde refinery, to the west of Sydney, normally supplies about half the fuels consumed in New South Wales, the country’s most-populous state.

Shell also plans to add diesel desulfurization capacity at its Pernis refinery in the Netherlands, Europe’s largest, in two to three years, Gainsborough said. The plant near Rotterdam can process 416,000 barrels of oil a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Refiners have been building plants that remove sulfur from fuels such as gasoline and diesel to meet stricter European Union regulation aimed at reducing carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

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

Last Updated: March 17, 2009 10:25 EDT 

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