ExxonMobil Cuts Jobs and Plans Refinery Sales

ExxonMobil Cuts Jobs and Plans Refinery Sales
ExxonMobil Cuts Jobs and Plans Refinery Sales

The American oil giant ExxonMobil announced a reduction in its activities in Port-Jérôme (Normandy), which "should lead to the elimination of 677 jobs", as well as a proposed sale, via its subsidiary Esso France, of the refinery of Fos-sur-Mer and fuel depots in the south of France.

Several petrochemical units, not "economically viable", including a steam cracker, will be shut down on the Gravenchon site, in Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine, near Le Havre, the group indicated in a press release.

ExxonMobil promises to initiate a “search for individual and collective solutions” for employees affected by the job cuts and specifies that “no departure is envisaged before 2025”.

“This is a terrible announcement for employees and their families,” reacted the Minister of Industry, Roland Lescure. “The group has an absolute obligation to offer reclassification prospects for employees and development for the site.”

To explain these difficulties, ExxonMobil pointed to "the configuration of the steam cracker" and "its size compared to large newly built units", but also cyclical factors such as "higher operating and energy costs in Europe" which "make it not competitive".

The Port-Jérôme refinery, which suffered a fire in a distillation unit on March 11, causing five minor injuries, will continue its activities, the group said.

A subsidiary of ExxonMobil, Esso France also announced its plan to sell its Fos-sur-Mer refinery to the company Rhône Energies, as well as that of the Esso depots in Toulouse and Villette-de Vienne.

The Port-Jérôme and Fos-sur-Mer refineries have refining capacities of 12 and 7 million tonnes respectively.

They are one of eight conventional refineries in France, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

The sector employs between 5,000 and 10,000 direct jobs, according to Ufip, the union of oil companies.