The American oil group ExxonMobil announced, Thursday April 11, a reduction in its activities in Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine (Seine-Maritime), which “should lead to the elimination of 677 jobs”, as well as a proposed sale, by its subsidiary Esso France, the Fos-sur-Mer refinery (Bouches-du-Rhône) and fuel depots in the south of France.

Several petrochemical units which are not “economically viable” will be shut down in Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine, the group said in a press release. ExxonMobil promises to initiate a “search for individual and collective solutions” for employees affected by job cuts and specifies that “no departure is envisaged before 2025”. Among the units concerned, a steam cracker, an installation which transforms hydrocarbons into molecules used by the chemical industry.

“The configuration of the steam cracker, its size, compared to large newly built units, the higher operating and energy costs in Europe make it uncompetitive,” added the company’s management. The Port-Jérôme-sur-Seine refinery, which was the victim of a fire in a distillation unit on March 11, causing five minor injuries, will continue its activities.

The government calls for “support for employees”

The Minister Delegate in charge of Industry and Energy, Roland Lescure, quoted in a press release, said “to regret this very difficult announcement for all of the 677 employees concerned, and for the entire territory”. “The group has an absolute obligation to offer prospects for reclassification for staff and development for the site,” underlined Mr. Lescure, who claims to have “very firmly told” ExxonMobil that he expected “the highest mobilization in supporting employees and supporting the region’s industrial ecosystem.

As for Esso France, the company announced, on the same day, a plan to sell its Fos-sur-Mer refinery and two fuel depots located in the south of France to the company Rhône Energies. This transfer project, which should be finalized “by the end of 2024”, provides that “310 employees of the company Esso Raffinage and the company Esso SAF working on the sites concerned [will] be transferred to the new entity Rhône Energies “.

The project “includes in particular” the sale of the Esso refinery in Fos-sur-Mer as well as that of the Esso depots in Toulouse and Villette-de-Vienne (Isère) to Rhônes Energies, “an experienced buyer”, described the management. , whose purchase offer provides for “the acquisition of assets and inventories on sites”. As a reminder, in 2014, Esso sold its 322 French service stations, taken over for more than 100 million euros by DCC, an Irish conglomerate. These stations kept the Esso brand and remained supplied by the group.