Petroplus UK refinery closure is ‘short-term gain’ - MEP

27 June 2012 14:29  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--The UK government has allowed asset-stripping for short-term gain to outweigh British job security and business for the long-term, after it decided against providing financial aid to keep Petroplus' Coryton refinery running, Richard Howitt, a British member of the European parliament (MEP) said on Wednesday.

The MEP’s comments followed Vopak, Shell and Greenergy’s announcement on Tuesday that they had agreed to acquire the assets of the Coryton refinery in Essex near London for an undisclosed sum.

The three companies will not continue operating the 220,000 bbl/day Coryton refinery but rather plan to convert the site into a fuel import and distribution terminal.

The MEP said the government was expressing "fake emotions when it says it is sad and disappointed" by the closure.

In January, Switzerland-based Petroplus said it would file for insolvency after lenders froze about $1bn (€800m) in credit lines in late December 2011. The insolvency affected Petroplus’ five refineries in Europe, including Coryton.

The refinery’s administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), said on Tuesday that approximately 180 employees will be made redundant in June, with further redundancies anticipated from late July onwards as the closure progresses.

It added that it is expected that a small number of employees and contractors will be retained to provide site security beyond the end of the summer.

Steven Pearson, joint administrator and partner at PwC, said: "It is regretful that there were no credible offers for the business at Coryton as a going concern as it has been necessary to cease refining and make employees redundant".

“We recognise that the closure results in the redundancy of the majority of the employees at Coryton and we intend to work with the local agencies and authorities to provide assistance during this difficult time,” he added.

“We now have to spend the coming weeks and months completing the removal of the remaining oil and ensuring that the closure programme is safely managed ahead of the sale of the assets to the joint venture partners,” Pearson said.

($1 = €0.80)


By: Leigh Stringer
+44 208 652 3214

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