Bengaluru — North Atlantic Refining Ltd’s Come-by-Chance refinery in Canada will be the first to close in North America due to the coronavirus pandemic as refineries worldwide cut back operations.
The company confirmed on Monday that it told stakeholders it was pausing production because of concerns about worker safety as the virus spreads.
Refineries worldwide have shut units or are operating at minimum processing levels due to slumping demand, as the pandemic has caused the global aviation industry to virtually shut and motorists to stay off the roads. Overall global fuel demand is expected to drop by 20% to 30% in April and remain weak for months after that.
So far, the refineries that have shut down are smaller operations. Come-by-Chance, located in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, can process up to 130,000 barrels per day. Last week, Italy’s API shut its 85,000 bpd refinery in Ancona, the first to shut in Europe, due to demand concerns.
Come by Chance will maintain a reduced workforce, the company said in a statement that went out late on Sunday.
“While we have no cases of COVID-19 at the refinery, our actions are consistent with the advice of public health officials to further prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” it said.
Numerous refineries worldwide, including India’s IOC, Phillips 66 and PBF in the United States, and several units in Brazil and Venezuela have already cut production.
Several U.S. refineries have stopped using contractors that were performing maintenance work, and others, including Delta Airlines’ Trainer, Pennsylvania refinery, are operating with smaller staffs.
The length of the shutdown at Come-by-Chance is currently unclear.
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*K. Sathya Narayanan, Brijesh Patel & Sumita Layek; Editing: Louise Heavens & Steve Orlofsky – HP