Some 500 residents of the Argentine town of Magdalena filed a class action lawsuit seeking damages of more than 330 million US dollar from petroleum giant Shell over alleged damage to their health caused by a 1999 oil spill,
Buenos Aires press reported over the weekend.
Plaintiffs are claiming that they were made ill by the effects of the spill.
Shell sources said the company was studying "if this really is a new lawsuit or if it's an old claim.
"This is not the first lawsuit faced by the British-Dutch oil company in Argentina over the 1999 spill. Several years ago, several other demands for a total of $180 million were filed over the same incident.
On Jan. 15, 1999, oil tanker "Estrella Pampeana" - owned by Shell - collided with the Liberian-flagged "Sea Parana" and spilled some 33,350 barrels of oil into the River Plate. Some of the oil washed up on the coastline at Magdalena, located some 350 kilometres from Buenos Aires.
Last September, in the face of reports that Shell was going to sell its Argentine affiliate, Magdalena authorities asked the courts to advise potential buyers that the firm was facing a lawsuit worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The petition was presented by the municipality before a federal court in the capital "to avoid the hiding of liabilities" if Shell sold its Argentine assets. Shell Argentina already was sentenced to pay Magdalena 35 million US dollars for spilling crude near its coast, a ruling that the Supreme Court has yet to decide upon following an appeal presented by the firm.
The multinational oil corporation is also facing two other lawsuits for 145 million US dollars in environmental and civil damages, making the total demand reach 180 million US dollars.