850 jobs at risk as refinery closes
An oil refinery which went bust is to close after administrators failed to find a buyer or the cash needed to keep it going, putting around 850 jobs at risk.
The Coryton plant in Essex, which supplies 20% of fuel in London and the South East, was plunged into administration earlier this year by its Swiss owner Petroplus.
Administrators PwC said the site would be wound down over the next three months after the challenge of raising the £625 million needed to fund the refinery proved too much.
There are likely to be a "substantial" number of redundancies among the 500 workforce, PwC said, while around 350 contractors will learn their fate in the next few days.
There are seven other refineries in the UK - at South Killingholme and Lindsey, both in North Lincolnshire; Fawley, near Southampton; Grangemouth, near Falkirk; Stanlow in Cheshire; and Milford Haven and Pembroke, both in Pembrokeshire.
The other main supplier for the South East and London is the Exxon Mobil refinery at Fawley. BP, a major customer of the Coryton refinery, said there were many alternative suppliers in the area, and added: "There will be no disruption to our customers."
PwC entered into an arrangement in February which allowed operations to continue at the Coryton refinery while various restructuring and sale options were explored. The administrator said this was unachievable against a backdrop of an "over-supplied" European refinery market.
PwC said it will now consult with both the trade union and the established staff representative group over their future. It also warned that the closure was likely to have an impact on staff at two other locations - an oil storage site in Teesside and a research and development site in Swansea.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "It is disappointing that PwC has been unable to find a buyer for Coryton. This is particularly bad news for the workers at Coryton. I want to reassure people that there will not be any impact on fuel supply from this development.
"Continuing jetty operations at Coryton means that there should be no loss of supply through the terminal to London and the South East."