UpdateBritish MEP urges London to help save Coryton refinery

15 May 2012 20:07  [Source: ICIS news]

(updates throughout)

LONDON (ICIS)--The UK government must take action to help save the 220,000 bbl/day refinery at Coryton in southeast England, a British member of the European parliament (MEP) said on Tuesday.

MEP Richard Howitt said the UK government’s unwillingness to help was especially disappointing given the aid the French government provided to ensure the continued operation at the Petit-Couronne refinery near Rouen in northwest France.

Coryton and Petit-Couronne are among five European refineries affected by the insolvency filing of Switzerland-based independent refiner Petroplus in January.

A temporary arrangement to maintain refining at Coryton is scheduled to expire on Wednesday.

Howitt also called on the EU to take trade measures to ensure a “level-playing field with refiners in the Middle East and Asia”.

He was speaking after a meeting in Brussels organised by EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger.

Howitt said that the meeting was told that currently eight refineries across Europe have suspended operations, and that by 2050 up to 70% of Europe’s refining capacity could close – even though the EU has already become dependent on imports of middle distillates.

"Papering over the cracks [in the European refining industry] won't save a single job,” Howitt said.

“The 1,000 workers at Coryton deserve concrete action to end the uncertainty and secure their future," he added.

Earlier in this month, oil trader Vitol and an investment firm agreed to buy Petroplus’s Cressier refinery in Switzerland. In March, Gunvor, a Switzerland-based Russian oil trader, agreed to buy Petroplus’s refinery in Antwerp, Belgium.

Additional reporting by Leigh Stringer

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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