Making His Own Way

Motiva Enterprises Convent Refinery’s Odeh Khoury focuses on helping people succeed

For Odeh Khoury, the distance from there to here — from a humble but loving home in East Jerusalem to overseeing day-to-day operations at a key south Louisiana refinery — isn’t best calculated in miles, years or any other standard unit of measure. No, to fully appreciate his nontraditional path to energy sector success, it’s critical to know those who’ve been there every step of the way.

“People have been central to my journey,” Khoury says. “So my motivation now is to really give back to those who work around me and help them succeed. Over my 25 years with the company they have invested in me. Now, I want to spend my energy investing in those who work for the company.”

“Honesty, integrity and respect — those are key, and they are values I see day-in and day-out with this company.”

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As general manager of Motiva Enterprises’ Convent Refinery — a 250,000 barrel-a-day facility with access to the Mississippi River via the Port of South Louisiana — Khoury has already left a positive impression in a short time period using teachings from his past and progressive philosophies he picked up throughout his professional career.  Khoury was appointed as GM in August 2013 and since then he and his Refinery Leadership Team have steered the ship in a positive direction by aligning the refinery’s “Vision” and “Ways of Working” to Motiva’s strategic purpose of being the safest and most profitable downstream company in the United States.

“If you spend any time at Convent you would see the kind of culture that encompasses these four “Ways of Working” says Khoury – “Excellence in Everything We Do,”  “Honoring our Commitments,” “Collaborate For The Best Outcome” and “Caring for Each Other.”  

And with that culture Khoury and his team are taking on the next strategic challenge by integrating the Convent refinery with its sister refinery at Norco.  This multi-phased project will connect the two refineries through a series of pipelines and modify its operations to take advantage of each refinery’s strengths.   “The pipelines will enable us to connect to crude sources as well as exchange products with the Norco refinery,” said Khoury.  The integration will also serve the local fuel demands and provide jobs opportunities to South Louisiana.

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“Over the course of time, my style of leadership and direction has adapted to the position and circumstances,” Khoury says. “I tend to favor collaborative decision-making, where views and opinions of others matter. I want to hear them. I want to incorporate them. But at the end of the day, I’m willing to make a call.”

Khoury, who says to this day is still “grounded by his roots,” fell in love with chemistry while a high school student in Jerusalem. A subscriber to his father’s tireless work ethic, Khoury turned his chemical engineering degree from the University of Maryland into an energy sector job with Shell Oil in Wilmington, California in 1990. The large chunk of Khoury’s professional progression occurred during his 14 years at Shell’s Deer Park (Texas) Refinery, where the still-young engineer took on multiple assignments of increasing skills and responsibilities in technical, business planning, and operations management.

While working, Khoury furthered his education and diversified his skillset by earning an Executive MBA from Rice University — a degree that shepherded his transfer from Shell to Motiva. After the move, Khoury headed Motiva Distribution’s Business Development Group, specifically managing all third-party terminalling while at the same time handling the company’s strategic ethanol infrastructure growth plans.

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In 2011, Khoury moved to Louisiana, serving as the Production Manager for the nearby Norco Manufacturing Complex where he led overall operations of the Norco Motiva Refinery, Shell Chemical Olefins Plants and the Shell Bitumen Refinery in St. Rose.

If his daily work duties weren’t enough, Khoury holds key positions in local energy sector organizations. He’s a board member of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance and serves as a Director of a Shell Retail Joint Venture in Florida.

Khoury is married to his wife Brandi who also works for Shell IT as an HR Manager.  They have two children, Natalie and Jirius.   The family enjoys traveling to diverse places and experiencing different cultures.

“To me, it’s vital to have a learning mind because through that comes growth and development both in your personal and your professional life,” Khoury says. “Then, you can’t be afraid to be challenged. Don’t shy away from them, because challenges bring opportunity.”

By William Kalec



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