Shell cuts deal with U.S. to cut pollution at Houston refinery

HOUSTON Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:01pm EDT

A Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in London January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in London January 31, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc has agreed to cut pollution at its joint-venture 327,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in the Houston suburb of Deer Park, Texas, according to an announcement on Wednesday by the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Under the agreement, which will take the form of a consent decree entered in U.S. District Court, Shell will install at least $115 million worth of equipment that will cut pollution from safety flares at the Deer Park refinery and adjoining chemical plant, according to the announcement.

"These controls will also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by approximately 260,000 tons per year," according the announcement.

Shell will also pay $2.6 million to settle a civil penalty.

The equipment will also monitor benzene escaping through the air beyond the refinery's fence line, according to the announcement. Benzene can cause cancer and bone marrow failure.

Shell is the sole owner of the Deer Park Chemical Plant, but the crude oil refinery is a 50-50 joint venture called Dear Park Refining LP owned by Shell and Mexico's national oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

(Reporting by Erwin Seba. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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