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Post and Courier Charleston: Shell to shut local facility: 78 to lose jobs as company moves operation

Thursday, October 12, 2006
BY MICHAEL BUETTNER 

Shell Oil Products U.S. is closing its North Charleston lubricants operation and eliminating the jobs of the 78 people who work there in a move to concentrate production at its other facilities around the country.

The company is working with employees to help them through the transition, said Shell spokeswoman Tricia Singer.

Singer said Shell is “continuously evaluating” its operations for opportunities to increase efficiency.

“We have found a way to maximize capacity through our other facilities,” making the North Charleston terminal unnecessary, she said.

The 41-acre site was formerly owned by Equilon Enterprises LLC, a joint venture formed in 1998 by Shell, Saudi Refining Inc. and Texaco Inc.

When Texaco was acquired by Chevron Corp. in 2001, the Federal Trade Commission required the company to sell its interest in Equilon as a condition of approving the deal.

Chevron sold its interest in Equilon to Shell in 2002. Under the terms of that deal, Shell had an option to sell the North Charleston site back to Chevron. It is now exercising that option, Singer said.

It is unclear whether Chevron has any plans to reuse the property. It did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron is the world’s fourth-largest oil company based on production. Shell is the third-largest, after No. 1 ExxonMobil and No. 2 BP.

A spokesman in North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey’s office said officials there were unaware of the closing until they were contacted by The Post and Courier.

John Cawley, North Charleston’s economic development director, could not be reached for comment.

Reach Michael Buettner at 937-5553 or [email protected]

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