Petroplus to ask for financial aid to avoid Coryton refinery closure

15 May 2012 15:58  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A meeting between Petroplus representatives and the UK government will take place in Brussels on Tuesday to try to secure financial aid to avoid the closure of the Coryton refinery, said MEP Richard Howitt.

A three-month tolling arrangement that has maintained refining operations at Coryton, Essex, pending any long-term deal is due to end at midnight on Wednesday 16 May.

Howitt and representatives of the refinery and government will discuss possible financial help for restructuring the company's operations that the MEP for the East of England hopes could maintain up to 1,000 jobs at the refinery.

In January Switzerland-based Petroplus said it would file for insolvency after lenders froze about $1bn (€780m) in credit lines in late December 2011. The insolvency affected Petroplus’s five refineries in Europe, including Coryton.

The British Government has always said it was keeping an open mind’ about possible direct assistance and this is the crucial meeting in which Britain and the other countries need to pledge help both to obtain agreement under European Union ‘state aid’ rules and to put money on the table to help secure new investment before it is too late,” said Howitt.

The French government has already awarded nearly £16m [€20m] towards keeping open its refinery in Normandy, and both the number of jobs affected and the importance for petrol supply merits Britain doing the same,” he added.

Earlier in May, oil trader Vitol and investment firm AtlasInvest agreed to buy the 68,000 bbl/day Cressier refinery in Switzerland from Petroplus for an undisclosed sum.

($1 = €0.78, €1 = £0.80)

By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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