Shell laying off nearly 700 workers at Convent refinery

Royal Dutch Shell has filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, with state officials regarding a planned layoff of nearly 700 workers at its Convent refinery, which is in the process of permanently closing. 

Per the notice, 698 workers will be laid off on March 1, 2021. They were given notice last Monday. 

The plant, which opened in 1967 as a Texaco refinery, reportedly employs nearly 700 workers and 400 contract workers. Shell has been trying to find a buyer for the refinery, which sits on 4,400 acres in parts of Ascension and St. James parishes and is designed to process nearly 240,000 barrels of crude oil daily.

Shell announced last month it was closing its refinery in Convent, the largest such U.S. facility and first on the Gulf Coast to shut down since the coronavirus pandemic devastated worldwide demand. St. James Parish officials reportedly received no warning of Shell’s announcement or plans and called the closure “detrimental” to the parish. 

A recent Reuters article said layoffs would begin in late February, with a second round of layoffs planned for March. Shell began shutting down the facility earlier this month

The closure is part of Shell’s plans to shrink to six sites from 14 by 2025.