Shell Reopens Argentine Refinery


On Sept. 11, the Argentine Environmental Authority allowed Shell to reopen its Buenos Aires refinery in the Dock Sud district after Shell presented a pollution cleanup program. The refinery includes a paraffinic plant with 1,500 barrels per day of API Group I base oil capacity.

On Sept. 5, Argentine officials closed the refinery, citing pollution found in soil samples and alleging that the plant lacked required permits, including one to allow drawing of water from an estuary.

The refinery units that were shut down as part of the closure instructions have returned back to normal operation, Shell Spokesman Reginaldo Thompson told Lube Report. We did not have any problems with the supply of base oil.

According to a statement from Shell, the authority reviewed its decision after the company presented permits and plans to them. Shell said permits presented included a cooling water drawing transitory permit enacted by the provincial authorities, which was not required as per existing regulations, and a liquid effluents disposal permit, whose renewal was sought by Shell from the provincial authorities in March in advance of its expiration in June 2007. The company also presented a plan to continue inspecting and certifying the refinerys pressurized equipment, which was an update of a plan presented by Shell and approved by authorities in June 2003.

In terms of new provisions, Shell said it presented a plan to identify, test and if necessary, mitigate, any potential spillage detected in the refinery site. The company also introduced a plan to improve the handling within the refinery of oily residues generated in the process units.

According to Shell, the Buenos Aires refinery first began operation in 1931. Encompassing 106 hectares (262 acres), it is Shell Groups only refinery in South America. In addition to lubricating base oils, the refinery produces gasoline and diesel fuel for vehicles, jet fuel for aviation use, liquefied petroleum gas, solvents and asphalt.

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