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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Shell is closing down its refinery in Convent, Louisiana, after failing to find a buyer for the plant that processes over 200,000 barrels of oil per day, the company said Thursday.

Why it matters: Most signs of Big Oil's climate plans have involved acquisitions and venture deals around renewables, batteries and other tech, but this move shows how the plans will also involve shedding assets in various parts of their business.

  • Shell said the move is partly a result of its long-term plans to transition its portfolio to lower-carbon sources as it aims for "net-zero" emissions by 2050.
  • Shell cited its strategy to invest in a "core set of uniquely integrated manufacturing sites that are also strategically positioned for the transition to a low-carbon future."

Yes, but: All that said I don't want to overstate the climate angle in what's mostly a market story as the industry grapples with COVID-19.

  • "Refineries have come under increasing financial pressure worldwide, as fuel demand has dropped during the coronavirus pandemic," the Houston Chronicle notes.
  • Per Reuters, it's the ninth North American refinery slated for shutdown or idling since the pandemic began.

What's next: The shutdown process at the plant, which employs 675 people, will begin later this month, Shell said.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 2, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The chasm between CO2 goals and energy production

Reproduced from The Production Gap Report: 2020 Special Report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Projected and planned levels of global oil, natural gas and coal production are way out of step with the kind of emissions cuts needed to hold global warming significantly in check, a new analysis shows.

Why it matters: The "production gap" report from the UN's environment agency and other researchers provides another lens onto how the world is nowhere near on track to meet the Paris climate deal's goals.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Faces of COVID creator on telling the stories of those we've lost

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.

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