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The Quebec Federation of Labor, the province's largest union group, said Wednesday it is calling on consumers to boycott Shell Canada gas stations for 24 hours late this week to protest against the European parent Royal Dutch Shell PLC's decision to close its 100,000 barrels-daily Montreal East oil refinery.

 

Most of the 550 workers at the refinery stand to lose their jobs in September when the closure becomes effective, though many will stay on a few months to help in dismantling. Shell plans to convert the plant into a distribution terminal which will provide only 30 permanent jobs.

 

The Quebec Government has worked hard to find a buyer for the refinery and two tentative offers, from unidentified sources, have been turned down by Shell.

 

Total, the European oil and gas giant planning to invest heavily in Western Canada's oilsands, says it is not interested in the Montreal refinery.

 

The QFL is urging motorists to show "solidarity" with the Shell refinery workers on Friday by boycotting Shell gas stations. It is pressuring the company to negotiate again with the two unidentified buyers.

 

But Shell, which operates refineries in Ontario and the West and a national petroleum product marketing network, will not sell to a competitor, analysts said.

 

Shell Canada has denied reports it has already begun new talks with the two potential buyers, saying last week's decision to shut the refinery is final.

 

Montreal had six oil refineries in the '70s before the second world oil crisis, but four have since been closed, leaving the Shell plant and the former PetroCanada plant nearby.

 

Analysts have questioned the long-term future of the PetroCanada refinery, now part of Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc., citing its small size.

 

Quebec's only other refinery, the U.S.-owned Ultramar Canada plant near Levis, has more than double the capacity of the PetroCanada refinery in Montreal after several rounds of upgrading.

 

(Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette)

 

Will you boycott Shell? Honestly thats one question I can't answer. Seeing I get my gas from the evil Exxon (Esso).

 

I just wonder if we would be having this problem, if Power Corp of Canada did not sell Canadian Oil Companies Ltd to Shell back in the 60s.

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