BREWER, Maine — Contrary to some rumors, Cianbro’s Eastern Manufacturing Facility is not laying off workers. In fact, the company has hired considerably more than the 500 skilled workers originally planned, local officials said Tuesday.
“They are at or above 700 people,” City Manager Steve Bost said. “They are working two shifts and weekends. The pace has really accelerated.”
Motiva Enterprises LLC hired Pittsfield-based Cianbro Corp. to build 52 refinery modules for the Motiva Port Arthur Refinery, which is in the middle of a $7 billion expansion that will make it the largest crude oil processing plant in North America.
Workers in Brewer are building the catalytic-cracker-feed hydrotreater and hydrocracker units for the massive refinery expansion project, and has a dozen modules under way, general manager Joe Cote has said.
The refinery modules that Cianbro employees are constructing are heavy-duty industrial steel frames filled with pipes, pumps and electronics, he said.
Cianbro chose the site of the shuttered Eastern Fine Paper Co. mill, which closed in January 2004, for its Eastern Manufacturing Facility and spent 10 months changing the abandoned mill site into a module-producing facility providing jobs that pay well.
Work on the modules began in April and the first module is scheduled to leave by barge in the next month or so.
“Some of the calendar is being driven by things outside of the Brewer site,” Bost said.
Four module plants, three in the United States and one in Mexico, are building pieces for the Port Arthur expansion, which is the largest capital project ever undertaken in Texas.
The Texas refinery, which produces Shell Oil brand products, processes about 275,000 barrels of fuel a day when up and running. It will process about 600,000 barrels a day once the $7 billion expansion is complete, which is expected in 2010.
Scuttlebutt about eminent layoffs and other problems is just not true, Tanya Pereira, Brewer economic development specialist, said Tuesday.
“I have not heard anything like that,” she said. There is “no talk of contract loss or layoffs.”
It’s quite the contrary, Pereira said.
“My last information was that they had now hired over 700 people,” she said.
That’s great news in these hard economic times, especially since they are well-paying jobs, Pereira said.