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PBF Chalmette Refinery Eyes Revamping Idled St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana Refinery

PBF Chalmette Refinery is studying the possible conversion of an idled refinery unit into a renewable diesel production complex in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

According to Louisiana Economic Development, the refinery’s parent company, PBF Energy, would make a $550 million capital investment to retrofit a hydrocracker unit, out of operation since 2010, with new technology to accommodate renewable diesel production. The project also would include construction of a pretreatment unit that will allow Chalmette Refining to create non-fossil feedstocks from soybean oil, corn oil and other biogenically derived fats and oils.

“The devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the energy industry is undeniable, we’ve seen eight U.S. refineries shut down since the beginning of 2020, including one down the road in St. James Parish,” PBF Chalmette Refinery Manager Steven Krynski said. “PBF Energy is looking for projects that will create stability for our workforce, prepare the refinery for a green energy transition and help us recover from the losses of the last year and a half. Louisiana financial incentives like the Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs help make the numbers work, especially as our company and entire industry recover from the pandemic. With the support of our state and local leaders, I am hopeful we will be able to bring this project and its economic benefits to St. Bernard Parish.”

To secure the project, the company is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. The granting of ITEP incentives is subject to final approval by local officials in St. Bernard Parish, with votes expected later this summer.

In addition the State of Louisiana offered PBF Energy an incentive package featuring the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart, the state workforce training and talent attraction program.

“Renewable diesel comes with a number of benefits: it’s made of renewable resources, it burns clean and it works just like traditional diesel,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans Inc. “We are proud that our team has worked with Chalmette Refining, Louisiana Economic Development and elected officials over the past year to help bring this project to fruition, to bring investment, jobs and clean energy to St. Bernard and the region.”

PBF Energy and its potential partners are considering Chalmette Refining along with other facilities for the renewable diesel project, and it expects to make a final investment decision after local taxing bodies in St. Bernard Parish consider the project, according to LED.

“Chalmette Refining is an important asset to St. Bernard Parish and a pillar of our community,” said Executive Director Meaghan McCormack of the St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation. “As we work to attract new businesses and industries, it is also of incredible importance to recognize the businesses who have a history in the parish – businesses that stabilize our tax base, employ our people and contribute to our economy. We are grateful our parish’s largest private business employer is eager to continue investing here. This is our chance to show that St. Bernard Parish is not only welcoming to new businesses, but also supports the innovation and growth of existing companies. St. Bernard Parish is one of many locations being considered for this potential project, and our decision can make all the difference.”

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