Closure of Shell refinery could have far-reaching impacts on La.
CONVENT - One expert says the entire state will feel the impact of losing Shell's refinery in St. James Parish, and the shock wave is expected to extend into the broader economy.
"It's going to be a hit to jobs. It's going to be a hit to business sales, it's going to be a hit to local and state tax collections. All of this is going to take a hit because of this," economist Loren Scott said.
Shell's Convent refinery was seen as a parish staple, and hundreds of people will be left looking for work. The wages of many high-paying workers will be lost, and those dollars will no longer fuel the economy.
"This is a refinery. It's very high-tech and very high in wage. So, that's the other problem that we have there," Scott said.
The parish president says the closing of Shell's Convent refinery will lay off about 700 of it's employees. Economists say it will affect eight times that amount.
"So we're talking about 5,600 jobs in our community that are at risk right now," Scott said.
Tyler Gray, President of the Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association, says you can't factor out the low fuel demand caused by the pandemic.
"With the pandemic, the reduction from the jet fuel and diesel has resulted in changes to the dynamics of how much is needed. With that you get an effect. That has a trickle-down effect to the needs of production here in the state," Gray said.
Experts say a COVID vaccine is not only a cure to the pandemic, but also a key factor in reviving the state's economy.
Shell has been operating, in St. James Parish since 1967. The parish president said they desperately need another company to take over the refinery.