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Shell ordered to delay measures to convert Montreal refinery

Montreal Gazette July 7, 2010

MONTREAL — Shell Canada Ltd. said Wednesday it will comply immediately with an order issued by Quebec Court judge Claude Auclair for a temporary halt to any dismantling work at its East Montreal refinery to covert it to a fuel-distribution terminal.

“This is a temporary order and it does not affect our plan for the refinery’s conversion, with work starting in September,” said a company spokesperson in Montreal.

The Shell Canada refinery’s union, affiliated with the Quebec Federation of Labour, claimed the company had contravened a provincial law that requires permission from the ministry of natural resources before any dismantling work of a refinery can go ahead.

The judge accepted the claim and issued the temporary order, but the company has already applied for the government’s authorization and expects to receive it next week.

The company would not comment on a demand by Denis Coderre, a Liberal MP from Quebec, that Shell Canada should be called before the House of Commons industry committee to explain why it had rejected all offers for the refinery.

Coderre claims that each time an offer met Shell Canada’s basic conditions, the company upped its asking price.

The conversion of the refinery is expected to result in the loss of about 500 jobs.

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