UPDATE 1-Shell Australia says to shut Clyde refinery in Nov

Thu Oct 9, 2008 4:32am BST

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SYDNEY Oct 9 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc's (RDSa.L) Australian unit will temporarily shut its Clyde refinery in Sydney at the end of November for maintenance work and import fuels to meet customers' orders the company said on Thursday.

During the shutdown, expected to run through at least December, ordes will be met from imported fuels, a Shell spokeswoman said.

"The catalyst for it coming back up is when we can be sure it's going to be operating reliably again. However long that will take. Ideally want to be up and running as soon as possible," the spokeswoman, Jane Wilkinson said.

The move precedes plans to upgrade the ageing refinery's HDS system --a process for removing sulphur using hydrogen -- Wilkinson said.

"We're concerned that given this upgrade of the HDS is happening just before Christmas, we don't want to be in a situation where we suddenly have supply shortages," she said."So we decided that between now and the end of November to make it an import only facility up until Christmas at least."

The shutdown follows a string of disruptions at the 82-year-old refinery -- Australia's oldest-- in the past 12 months.

With a nameplate capacity of 85,000 barrels per day, Wilkisnon said the closure was unlikely to have an impact on the supply of fuel products to customers

(Reporting by James Regan and James Thornhill)

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