More VC Summer fallout: 250 losing jobs at pipe facility in Laurens

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Two-hundred and fifty people are set to lose jobs with the closure of a pipe fabrication facility in Laurens.

The facility, operated by Chicago Bridge & Iron, or CB&I, had supported the construction of the VC Summer nuclear project near the Midlands community of Jenkinsville.

That work disappeared when utilities SCE&G and Santee Cooper abandoned the project this past summer.

The layoffs in Laurens are scheduled to start in mid November and continue until March 30, Prentis Martin, manager of the pipe fabrication plant, said in a Sept. 15 notice to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. He cited “the lack of available work and high overhead costs” as reasons for the closure.

A company spokesman in the Houston area, however, said “general economic reasons” were behind the closing.

“After careful evaluation, CB&I has decided to close the facility strictly for general economic reasons as part of an overall review of our backlog of work,” spokesman Gentry Brann told Upstate Business Journal.

He said the facility continues to provide fabrication services for the construction of a different nuclear plant near Augusta, Ga., just across the South Carolina line.

“This was a decision based on our overall work load after reviewing projects across the country,” Brann said. “The nuclear work for both projects was scheduled to be completed by early next year, so this decision is due to longer-term needs.”

Johnathan Coleman, executive director of the Laurens County Development Corp., the county’s economic development organization, said his office would do everything it could to pair displaced workers “with the multiple opportunities available in the area.”

For more information, visit www.cbi.com.

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