McDermott to close its Morgan City operations

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - McDermott International says it will close its Morgan City fabrication center and marine base in Amelia, LA and move its operations to Altamira, Mexico.

The Houston-based energy services and engineering firm estimates 350 workers will be let go when the yard is shuttered either late this year or early next.

During a news conference Tuesday, Governor Bobby Jindal pledged his support for the workers.

Governor Jindal said, "We worked tirelessly with company officials, regional economic development leaders and elected officials to stave off this announcement. But most of the growth in the offshore fabrication business today is focused on very large and very heavy drilling structures that require deepwater access to fabrication facilities. And the 20-foot to 25-foot draft in the waters at the Morgan City Yard are simply not deep enough to serve the major deepwater projects today. It's for that very specific reason — and not because of the local workforce or our state business climate — that McDermott is making this very difficult decision.

"Our number one responsibility is to make sure that workers affected by McDermott's decision land on their feet at other companies in Louisiana. In order to help these folks land on their feet, the Department of Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Workforce Commission stand ready to provide these workers with the resources they need to find new jobs. We will do everything in our power to see that the men and women of McDermott have outstanding career options available to them as their work here comes to a close.

"While today is certainly somber, our message to the workers is that new opportunities are on the horizon. We will get through this together. One thing about Louisianians is that no matter what challenge we face, we always come back stronger and better than before – and we do it with the support of our friends and neighbors.

"That's why we came down here today. To the workers – I want you to know that we are committed to helping you find new jobs and opportunities right here at home. With the major economic activity we're seeing in this region and the coalition with us today, I'm confident that we will overcome this challenge."

Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Secretary Stephen Moret said, "Many employers in the Bayou Region are adding jobs right now, such as Bollinger Shipyards, Danos, Intermoor, Leevac Shipyards, Oceaneering, Gulf Island and Edison Chouest Offshore, so LED FastStart and the Louisiana Workforce Commission will work with the company to help find good job opportunities in the Bayou Region for impacted workers over the next six to nine months as the yard's work slows down. The dedicated employees at McDermott have exactly the work ethic and skill sets that other major employers in the area are seeking right now as they grow to take advantage of expanding deepwater opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico."

The LWC has a Rapid Response team that has met with company officials to establish a schedule of services for affected employees that will help make their transitions to other jobs smooth and fast. Those services include orientation meetings, skill assessments, job placement services and potentially even retraining for those who need it.

Examples of companies hiring workers include Edison Chouest for its LaShip shipyard in Houma that will result in 1,000 new direct jobs; Danos for its new $10 million corporate headquarters in Gray and new $20 million fabrication facility that will create 426 new jobs over the next five years; and Oceaneering which has announced it will create 200 new jobs averaging $60,000 per year while retaining 1,700 existing positions at its Morgan City facilities.