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Blaze hits Shell plant in Texas

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ROYAL DUTCH SHELL has shut down parts of a refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, after a fire broke out following a £6.4billion expansion scheme.

Shell closed units at the Motiva refinery, which is run by a joint venture of the oil giant and Saudi Refining, after the second blaze in a week is said to have started near the biggest of the plant’s three crude oil units.

The first attempt to start the unit, at the end of a five year upgrade of the refinery, was hampered by a chemical leak in June 2012.

The unit has been running at reduced rates since it began production early this year.

The company may shut the crude unit in the autumn of 2014 to fix the problems.

Meanwhile, Shell owns 35 per cent of a consortium with US oil giant Exxon-Mobil that hopes to sign a deal with Ukraine within two months to develop the Skifska gas field on the Black Sea, which would cost about £7.7billion.

Ukraine is strengthening its ties with European and US oil companies as it moves to reduce its dependence on Russian gas imports by doubling its imports from Europe by 2014.

Royal Dutch Shell shares closed 12½p down at 2037p.

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