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Shell Will Shut Down Its Convent Refinery

Royal Dutch Shell will shut down its Convent refinery beginning this month.

A major Shell oil refinery in Convent is closing this month because the company failed to sell it.

The refinery employed nearly 700 people full-time and another 400 contract workers. Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statement saying the state will support the laid-off workers and try to find work for them elsewhere. Shell employs about 4,000 people in Louisiana.

The facility received no bids when it was put on the market, so Shell assessed its finances and decided to shut it down instead, officials said in a statement.

Shell spokesperson Curtis Smith said the company would maintain refineries and chemical plants in Norco and Geismar, and work to safely decommission the Convent site.

The 4,000-acre Convent refinery produces crude oil, gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and sulfur. It was originally built by Texaco, with major investments in infrastructure and capacity from the 1980s to 2000s. Operations transferred to Royal Dutch Shell in 2017.

The move is part of a greater effort to consolidate its operations and “provide customers with the lower-carbon products they desire,” Shell's statement said. The company plans to invest in producing more environmentally friendly products like biofuels, hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and local listeners.

Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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