With resumption of production at its fire-ravaged refinery in Port Neches, Texas, not expected for some time, TPC Group announced this week the layoff of more than half the 183 personnel still on the payroll.
“As the company continues site response efforts, it has become clear that a potential rebuild of our Port Neches plant could take up to five years,” a statement issued by TPC reads. “Unfortunately, this timeline necessitates a reduction in our current workforce.”
An explosion and fire in a butadiene processing unit rocked the facility at about 1 a.m. Thanksgiving Eve in 2019. That was followed by a series of secondary blasts that shattered windows and blew locked door off their hinges throughout the surrounding community. Nearly 60,000 residents were evacuated until the following day.
Until the facility is rebuilt it will only operate as a terminal, the TPC statement reads. As a result, approximately 100 positions will be eliminated subject to further discussions with the unions and decisions by some employees to accept relocation offers.
Hourly employees affected by the layoff will receive pay and benefits through April 30. Out of the remaining 83 positions both hourly and salaried, only 45 will hourly, TPC states.
“The company believes this reduction in workforce reflects a careful assessment, analysis and execution plan that will meet Port Neches staffing needs for operation as a terminal until a rebuild is completed,” a statement released by TPC reads.