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Shell to lay off nearly 700 workers in Louisiana after refinery closes

Shell to lay off nearly 700 workers in Louisiana after refinery closes

Royal Dutch Shell will lay off 698 workers as it closes its Convent refinery in Louisiana, part of a company effort to reduce carbon emissions.

The layoffs will begin in March and be completed by the end of August when the plant closes, according to information filed with the Louisiana workforce commission last month.

“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 Hague-based company said in November, when it began shutting down the refinery after failing to find a buyer for it.

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.

OIL BUSTMore refineries expected to close as pandemic cuts gasoline demand

Refineries have been squeezed during the coronavirus pandemic, which slashed demand for refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The growing popularity of electric vehicles is adding to refiners’ financial woes.

More refineries are expected to close as long as the pandemic stifles 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.

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