Shell will lay off 700 workers after closing its Convent refinery in Louisiana, part of a company effort to reduce carbon emissions.
The European oil major told the Louisiana workforce commission in December that the layoffs will take place in March. The Netherlands-based company began shutting down its Convent refinery in November after failing to find a buyer.
“The decision is part of the company’s global strategy to invest in a core set of uniquely integrated manufacturing sites that are also strategically positioned for the transition to a low-carbon future,” the company said in a statement in early November.
Refineries have been increasingly squeezed during the coronavirus pandemic, which crushed demand for refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. They also face a growing movement toward electric vehicles, which would only exacerbate their financial woes.
More refineries are expected to close as the pandemic continues to depress crude demand. Energy research firm IHS Markit predicts that more than 3 million barrels a day of refinery capacity will shut down due to the pandemic — the equivalent of 3 percent of global capacity.
Shell, which has its U.S. headquarters in Houston, has been consolidating its refining and chemical operations to six sites worldwide, including Deer Park in Texas and Norco in Louisiana.
This article first appeared on the Houston Chronicle – an Energy Voice content partner. For more from the Houston Chronicle click here.