470 jobs to be axed as Neste announces closure of Naantali refinery

Neste cites a drop in demand for fossil fuel products, and growing need for biofuel, as the reason to shutter its refinery in southwest Finland.

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File picture showing exterior of Naantali refinery / Credit: Neste

Finnish fuel company Neste says it is restructuring operations due to a drop in demand for fossil oil products: shuttering its Naantali refinery, and focusing more on renewables at the Porvoo plant instead.

The company will start negotiations over job cuts, and up to 470 jobs are likely to be lost.

“The energy transition is proceeding faster than expected. The forthcoming operating and maintenance investments in the Naantali refinery are not viable nor sustainable in a situation where there is large over-capacity for oil refining globally” says Neste’s President and CEO Peter Vanacker in a statement.

“Although the time is not optimal, and this news is unfortunate for many of us, the planned actions to develop our refinery operations are urgently needed to maintain operations and strategic capabilities in refining in Finland and to secure Oil Products’ competitiveness” ge adds.

File picture of Neste Naantali refinery / Credit: Neste

Reaction to the job cuts news

The Mayor of Naantali says the refinery’s closure will have a serious impact on the employment and economy of the town, and the southwest region as a whole, with falling corporate and municipal taxes on top of the job losses.

“We have received the sad and worrying news. The closure of the Naantali refinery operations will cause a significant reduction in jobs in Southwest Finland, which will be difficult to replace with similar jobs. If operations are reduced, the city will be very concerned about the employees and their families” says Mayor Jouni Mutanen.

“We hope that the company will still consider the matter and take social responsibility into account in its plans” he adds.

The mayor is convening a special task force with representatives from local communities, businesses, education providers and the local development authority to find ways to support the laid-off Neste employees with training or employment opportunities.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) says she’s been in contact with Mayor Mutanen and that the state will support the workers and the region in this difficult situation.

“The discussion to find solutions continues” Marin writes on Twitter.