CORRECTED - US refinery strike looms as contract expiration nears

(Corrects third paragraph to say USW weighs rejection of lastest contract offer)

HOUSTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Some 30,000 refinery workers that operate half of the U.S. fuel-making capacity could go on strike if they fail to renew a union contract that expires early Sunday, union officials said on Thursday.

Talks between the United Steelworkers union and the lead refiner negotiator, Shell Oil Co RDSa.L, continued on Thursday, Shell and USW representatives said, though both declined to disclose details of the talks.

The union was weighing rejection of a third contract offer from Shell on Thursday, according to a memo from USW International Vice President Gary Beevers posted on a local union website.

“It is the USW’s position that the continued failure of the industry to deal with the issues presented by the (union’s) proposals poses a real threat of strike action,” Beevers wrote. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Walter Bagley)