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UPDATE 1-Finland's Neste to cut up to 470 jobs

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Sept 14 (Reuters) - Finnish biofuel producer and oil refiner Neste plans to cut up to 470 jobs in Finland to seek 50 million euros ($59 million) of savings due to declining demand for fossil oil products, it said on Monday.

“The company is exploring the shutdown of its refinery operations in Naantali and focusing the Naantali site on the terminal and harbour operations, as well as transforming the Porvoo refinery operations to co-processing renewable and circular raw materials,” it said in a statement.

Neste, which has invested heavily in renewables, said in July it had delayed the expansion of its Singapore refinery from the middle of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neste said it continued to believe renewable energy solutions would grow in the coming years, but that the COVID-19 pandemic had substantially accelerated the decline in demand for fossil oil products, with no recovery in sight.

“The energy transition is proceeding faster than expected,” Neste said, adding necessary investments into its Naantali refinery were no longer viable due to large over-capacity for oil refining globally.

The final number of jobs to be cut will be defined in statutory cooperation negotiations with employees, Neste said. (Reporting by Anne Kauranen, editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

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