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Gov. Edwards responds to closing of Shell’s Convent refinery

STAFF REPORTS

L’OBSERVATEUR

 

CONVENT — Shell confirmed Thursday that it will shut down its refinery in Convent, which employs nearly 700 workers and 400 contract workers. The facility is expected to close later this month.

In a statement, Shell said the closure is a move toward a low-carbon future and that the company would assist employees in finding positions at other Shell locations. Employees who are transitioned to other Shell positions will be offered a severance. A Selective Voluntary Severance program will be open at Shell’s Geismar and Norco locations.

“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,” Shell released in a statement. “The shutdown process will begin in mid-November. In July of 2020, we shared with staff that the Shell Convent Refinery was being marketed. Despite efforts to sell the asset, a viable buyer was never identified.”

Governor John Bel Edwards released a statement on the closure.

“We are disappointed to learn that Shell’s Convent Refinery in St. James Parish will be closing in the near future. This is a difficult decision for Shell and a challenging time for the company’s 700 Convent employees and their families. The State of Louisiana will support them in every way we can through the Rapid Response Unit of the Louisiana Workforce Commission and through prioritized placement of these talented workers within our state,” Edwards said.

Edwards said Shell’s decision to reduce the number of standalone refineries in favor of consolidated industrial sites is not due to a lack of competitiveness within Louisiana’s business climate or workforce. He added that the company will continue to operate many vital assets within the state.

“Shell employs nearly 4,000 people in our state, with a similar number of retirees. Company holdings in Louisiana range from deepwater operations headquartered in New Orleans and conducted offshore, to the Norco refinery, the Geismar chemicals plant, the Port Allen catalysts site, pipelines and other operations,” Edwards said.

“I have asked Shell to work with us in re-employing workers of the Convent Refinery at other Louisiana locations. We also will support Shell in its efforts to sell and repurpose this important industrial site for the future benefit of St. James Parish, the River Parishes and our entire state.”