MONTREAL - Shell Canada says it's converting its Montreal refinery into a storage centre for gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels after failing to sell the 76-year-old facility.
Job cuts are expected.
The company made the announcement Thursday after a months-long review of the Montreal East facility, which employs about 450 people.
Shell says the 130,000-barrel-a-day refinery no longer fits with the company's long-term plans.
Unionized employees at the Montreal East refinery had sounded the alarm in July and feared that the company would be shutting down the facility altogether.
Shell spokesman Larry Lalonde says that the decision to convert it into an import terminal comes after failing to secure a buyer for the facility - which was the company's first choice.
Lalonde says employees were told about the move today and it is clear that the facility will operate with fewer employees in the future.
Union officials were not immediately available to comment.
The company says it injects more than C$200 million each year into Montreal's economy.
"The difficult decision was made after extensive deliberation," said Christian Houle, general manager of the refinery.
"We appreciate the decision impacts employees and their families and we certainly intend to support them throughout the process."
Shell says more details about the conversion plan will be released in the coming months.