Shell to close main Montreal units in September

Mon May 17, 2010 12:22pm EDT
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc expects to shut the major units at its 130,000 barrel per day Montreal East refinery by September, as it follows through on plans to convert the facility into a distribution terminal.

The company will close the refinery's main processing units -- the alkylation unit and catalytic cracker -- in September, with other units following.

The plant is expected to stop taking crude deliveries prior to the shutdown of the units, likely by the end of August, the company said.

"It will be a staged shutdown," said Larry Lalonde, a Shell spokesman. "They'll shut down over the course of September, through October and November. Then from there they'll be into the full conversion."

Shell, which has operated a refinery at the site for 76 years, put the Montreal East plant up for sale last year, saying it did not fit into its long-term strategy. It opted in January to close the facility after a seven-month search for a buyer came up dry.

Shell does not expect the shutdown to affect its customers. It has already begun to store product to see it over the transition period.

"We're in the process now of stocking up on supply," Lalonde said. "We'll continue to supply the market through the light oil terminal we have in Montreal."

Shell will continue to operate its 75,000 bpd Corunna refinery near Sarnia, Ontario, and its 100,000 bpd Scotford refinery near Edmonton, Alberta.

(Reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Rob Wilson)