Repsol to Furlough Staff on Energy Transition Concerns

Spanish oil refiner Repsol SA plans to furlough 830 workers at two refineries, citing a combination of lower demand due to the pandemic and uncertainty caused by the transition to cleaner energy.

Staff will be put on leave for as long as six months and impact about 31% of workers at the company’s A Coruna refinery, and about 60% at the Puertollano plant, the company said in emailed statements.

Repsol said it has been hit by the largest drop in oil demand in history caused by the coronavirus crisis. Also weighing is the energy transition, which will require the refiner to transform its operations to reduce its carbon footprint.

The company’s refining margin fell 96% to 20 cents a barrel in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, it said in a separate filing.

Spain’s climate change bill was approved by congress on Thursday, with only a vote in the senate remaining before it becomes law. The bill mirrors the European Union’s pledge to eliminate all net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, and outlines the country’s path toward cutting 23% of emissions by 2030 from 1990 levels.

Repsol’s announcement on Thursday follows a decision by subsidiary Petronor to also furlough workers after operating at 60% capacity for the past nine months.

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