Avondale workers rally as part of the Save our Shipyard campaign. Photo: Facebook

The head of Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. (HII) said Wednesday that it is still looking for partners to convert a Louisiana naval shipyard earmarked for closure into a manufacturing plant for the energy sector.

The company plans to close the Avondale yard in when it completes a transport ship for the U.S. Navy next year, but Chief Executive Mike Petters said a shortage of skilled workers in the energy infrastructure sector offers potential to redeploy a workforce that has been shrunk to around 3,000.

Mr. Petters didn’t disclose if Huntington Ingalls was in active talks with any potential partners, though affirmed the facility–once the state’s largest employer with more than 25,000 staff–would be shuttered if no alternative use is secured.

“If we don’t find anything, Avondale closes,” he said at an investor conference.

Huntington Ingalls announced in 2010 that it would close Avondale as it consolidated itsNavy work on the Gulf coast at Pascagoula, Miss., but has since been courted by the state of Louisiana, which sees potential for it to be used to make oil and gas platforms or even commercial ships.

Mr. Petters said Wednesday he saw no potential for Avondale to produce commercial ships.

-By Doug Cameron. (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jirvROfN5w[/youtube]

*Northrop Grumman did a Spin off of (NGSB) Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding to Huntington Ingalls Inc. effective as of March 31, 2011. The Avondale yard is now Ingalls Shipbuilding Avondale Operation, a division of Huntington Ingalls Inc. http://avondalesos.org/

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