Global oil giant Shell International Petroleum (Shell) plans to build a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel production facility at its currently closed Convent refinery in Louisiana, USA, according to documents filed with local authorities reported by The Advocate.

According to its website, the company shut down the plant – located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans – in November 2020 saying the decision was “part of the company’s global strategy to invest in a core set of… integrated manufacturing sites… for the transition to a low-carbon future”.

Before its shutdown, the Convent refinery processed approximately 240,000 barrels/day (bpd) of crude oil, producing conventional petroleum products and refinery grade sulphur.

In February, the company had announced plans to convert the Convent site into an alternative fuels complex, the 23 August report said, without giving further details.

However, on 22 August, the company had filed requests with the Louisiana Economic Development (LED) for two state tax breaks — the Industrial Tax Exemption Program and Quality Jobs – giving an indication of its future plans for the site, the report said.

Shell was planning to use a “third-party proprietary alcohol-to-jet technology” at Convent to convert ethanol into low-carbon SAF and renewable diesel, according to LED records reported by The Advocate.

The facility will source sugarcane ethanol as a primary feedstock while also having the capacity to convert corn ethanol into low-carbon fuels, according to the report.

Shell expected construction to begin in February 2025 and to be completed by March 2028, the report said.

The company’s budget for the project was US$1.4bn, according to the report, but a Shell spokesperson was quoted as saying on 23 August that a final investment decision had not been made.