The energy company Shell is to shut its main research and development centre in the UK at the company’s site in Thornton, Cheshire.
The decision will result in the relocation of 280 employees from Shell Technology Centre Thornton to other sites around the UK by 2014. The facility has been at the centre of the company’s development of biofuels and as well as more traditional fuels.
“This relocation of employees within the UK follows the decision last year to move the site’s laboratory activities – largely to Hamburg but also to other sites globally – as part of a global review of our technology footprint,” said statement released by Shell.
The closure follows the company’s sale of the 1,350-hectare Stanlow refinery near Ellesmere Port to India-based Essar Energy. The site’s $1.3bn sell-off in March 2011 is part of a trend within the company that has seen it relocate high-tech research and manufacturing out of the UK.
A spokesperson for Shell commented that it remains determined to retain a long-term research and product development capability in the UK.