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(BN) Total to Shut Texas, Refinery Within Three Days (Update1)

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    basil parmesan
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    Total to Shut Texas, Refinery Within Three Days (Update1)

    By Barbara Powell
         March 24, 2009 (Bloomberg)
    Total SA, Europes third-largest
    oil company, began shutting units at the Port Arthur, Texas,
    refinery today as it prepared to half production, the company
    said in a state report. Production will be halted for weeks
    ,
    United Steelworkers union members who work at the plant said.
         The process will cause gas flaring through March 27, the
    company reported in a filing with the Texas Department of
    Environmental Quality.
         Its an economic thing, said Steve Shellnut, a United
    Steelworkers member  and an operator on the refinerys water
    treatment plant. Were starting to shut down some of the units
    and theyre eventually planning on shutting everything down.
    Its a scheduled shutdown.
         Karen Grace, a spokeswoman for Total, declined to comment
    on operations at the refinery. We adjust our operations to
    what is going on in the market. We always adjust. But, its our
    practice not to get into specifics.
         The shutdown, which includes an isomerization unit, will
    take two to three days to complete, said Carl Sanders, a
    machinist at the refinery
    . Well be shut for three to four
    weeks.
         Isomerization units produce unleaded gasoline components.
    Totals Port Arthur refinery can process 240,000 barrels of oil
    a day, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

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