Jennifer Larino reports in the Times-Picayune.
PBF Energy Inc., based in Parsippany, N.J., and one of the largest independent oil refiners in North America, has agreed to purchase the 189,000-barrel-per-day refinery as well as interests in chemical facilities, pipelines and other assets at the site.
A statement released by PBF Energy did not detail how the purchase would impact the refinery's workforce, though it appears leadership intends to extend job offers to many current employees.
"We are committed to the continued safe and environmentally responsible operations of the facility and look forward to welcoming Chalmette's well-trained and professional workforce to the PBF family," CEO Tom Nimbley said.
About 530 ExxonMobil employees and 500 contractors work at the refinery, according to figures provided by ExxonMobil.
PBF spokesman Michael Karlovich said the company intends to extend offers to all ExxonMobil employees. He said PBF would review the level of contract work needed to support safe operations at the facility.
The sale comes as Venezuela's government seeks ways to cover growing debt as low oil prices erode state revenues and a recession looms.
ExxonMobil and Petroleos de Venezuela each own a 50 percent stake in the refinery.
Chalmette Refining, built in 1915 on the site of a former plantation, is one of the largest employers in St. Bernard Parish. ExxonMobil operates the plant, though about a third of the oil refined there is produced in Venezuela.
The deal is PBF Energy's first refinery purchase on the Gulf Coast, expanding its refining capacity by 35 percent to more than 725,000 barrels per day.
PBR Energy operates refineries in Delaware, New Jersey and Ohio.
If regulators approve the deal, the new owners are expected to take over the Chalmette refinery later this year.
PBF Energy currently operates three refineries in Paulsboro, New Jersey, Delaware City, Delaware and Toledo, Ohio. Two members of its management,CEO Thomas J. Nimbley and Senior Vice President of Refining Herman Seedorf were part of the ConocoPhillips team that from 1993 to 2001 managed the Bayway Refinery in Linden, NJ
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