(Bloomberg) -- PBF Energy Inc.’s Paulsboro refinery in New Jersey became the latest oil processing facility to fall victim to a Covid-driven collapse in fuel demand, announcing plans to idle operations for the foreseeable future.
The company plans to lay off 250 employees at the 160,000-barrel-a-day plant and halt fuel production as a result of low demand, according to a letter to employees seen by Bloomberg.
“The move was prompted by unanticipated, extended demand destruction for transportation fuels related to Covid-19 policies,” the letter from Chief Executive Officer Tom Nimbley said.
The nationwide decline in fuel demand that has resulted from lockdowns and less travel have already forced at least five refineries to shut or be repurposed in the past six months. Gasoline demand plunged in the late spring and summer and remains stuck about 8% below the five-year average, according to government data.
The Paulsboro plant will be taken out of service and preserved for a possible reopening in the future, according to the company’s letter. If the refinery is reopened, it will only produce partially refined feedstocks that will be sent to the company’s Delaware City refinery, the letter showed. Paulsboro would make lubricants and asphalt.
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