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French plant may refine 100,000 bpd for Shell-union
March 20, 2012 / 5:22 PM / 5 years ago

French plant may refine 100,000 bpd for Shell-union

PETIT-COURONNE, France, March 20 (Reuters) - The French Petit-Couronne plant of insolvent refiner Petroplus would deliver 100,000 barrels per day of products to Royal Dutch Shell under a six-month deal aimed at restarting the idled site, a union official said on Tuesday.

Swiss-based Petroplus has closed or idled refineries in Europe since filing for insolvency in several jurisdictions last month due to high debt and poor margins.

The temporary processing agreement at Petit-Couronne, announced last month by French President Nicolas Sarkozy , is due to be signed this week but its execution still depends on meeting a June 1 deadline for restarting, Yves Scornet, spokesman for unions at the site, said.

The restarting of the refinery is seen by the government and unions as essential to make the site viable for a future buyer.

The administrators of the plant last week extended a deadline for bids to April 5, after receiving a proposal from Swiss-based investor Gary Klesch and expressions of interest from other parties.

Klesch’s proposal was the most advanced but there were other ones, Scornet said, stressing that none has yet been finalised.

Klesch confirmed last week he had proposed to invest 160 million euros ($211.87 million) in the Petit-Couronne plant and maintain about 410 out of 550 jobs.

Work to restart the French refinery would take two months and unions are concerned that red tape is holding up the release of 50 million euros in funds pledged by the French government and Shell to pay for the works, Scornet said.

Management at the site said last week the plant should restart in the second half of May after orders were placed for maintenance work but Scornet said the plant’s operating firm only had around 2 million euros in funds.

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