Shell, agencies agree to Bakersfield refinery extension

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Dec. 7 -- Shell Oil Products US has reached an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice that modifies a consent decree and keeps the Shell Bakersfield refinery in operation through Mar. 31, 2005.

The agreement calls for Shell to reduce the refinery's nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 62 tonnes/year by Mar. 31, 2005, rather than Dec. 31, 2008, and allows the company to reduce its NOx emission-reduction target for this year by 7 tonnes as a result of not closing the refinery on Oct. 1 as planned. The agreement, which must also have court approval, will next be presented for public comment.

Shell is continuing discussions with bidders on the potential sale of the refinery (OGJ Online, Sept. 29, 2004). Extending operations would help with transition should a new owner emerge. If no sale agreement is reached, Shell plans to close the refinery by Mar. 31, 2005.

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