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Shell shuts unit at Motiva Texas refinery

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NEW YORK | Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:12pm BST

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said it shut down an unspecified unit at its joint-venture 600,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, on Saturday, following an operational problem.

“Several units that are integrated to this unit will run at reduced rates and others are being shut down,” while repairs are underway, shell spokeswoman Kimberly Windon said in an email on Monday.

Sources said Motiva shut a hydrocracker at the refinery following a fire on Saturday.

This is the latest in a series of setbacks at the refinery where the newest crude unit is expected to run up to 75,000 bpd below capacity due to a piping problem.

The 325,000 bpd crude unit called VPS-5 was beset by vibration problems when Motiva attempted to run it at or near its full capacity, as Reuters exclusively reported on Friday.

The first attempt to start the unit, at the end of a 5-year, $10 billion expansion of the plant, was hampered by a chemical leak in June 2012.

The unit has been running at reduced rates ranging between 250,000 bpd and 285,000 bpd since it began production early this year.

Motiva is a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Refining.

(Reporting by Shrutee Sarkar and Selam Gebrekidan)

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