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Total plans to scale back oil plant

TOTAL SA, Europe's largest oil refiner, plans to shut part of its Lindsey plant in northeast England in March, curbing fuel supplies, two people familiar with the situation told Bloomberg News.

Total will shut a so-called hydro-desulfurization unit, which makes cleaner-burning fuels, the pair said, declining to be identified because the information is confidential. The work should be completed by the start of April, one of the people said. Iain Hutchison, Total's United Kingdom spokesman, couldn't comment on maintenance plans at the 221,000 barrel-a-day refinery.

The global recession is causing fuel prices to sink, with diesel falling 68 percent from a July record to US$438.50 a metric ton.

In March last year, a hydro-desulfurization unit was idled for two weeks of maintenance.

The company is spending 200 million pounds (US$291 million) on a new HDS unit at the site, which is scheduled to begin production of ultra-low-sulfur diesel in June.


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