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01/06/2012 Coryton Refinery Set To Close

Up to 500 jobs are at risk, after Petroplus' Join Administrators announced they had failed to find a buyer for the company's Coryton refinery.

Steven Pearson, Joint Administrator and partner with PwC, commented, "Together with the Petroplus management and the creditors' committee, we have worked tirelessly to explore all feasible options for the refinery. We have had contact with over 100 possible investors and purchasers. We have been unable to reach a deal to date.

"The current financing market is exceptionally difficult - capital is short and expensive. Prospective investors in the refinery faced a significant capital expenditure need, as well as a fragile market for refined oil products. These factors have conspired against us in trying to structure a deal.

"I would like to thank the management, the employees, contractors, customers and suppliers for their support and solidarity during the past four months. Without their commitment we would not have been afforded the opportunity to continue the business and explore a going concern solution."

Any closure process is likely to take up to three months, during which time discussions regarding a possible sale will continue. Since administrators were appointed to Petroplus in January, operations at Coryton have continued and some 20 million barrels of oil have been refined.

A spokesperson for the Department of Energy & 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. The Job Centre Plus Rapid Response Service is available to support individual employees to re-enter the job market. Coryton's workforce is highly skilled and well-positioned to take advantage of new opportunities.

"We 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. Closure of the refinery reflects overcapacity in the European refining sector and a number of refineries have closed across Europe in recent years.

"We will continue to keep in close contact with the administrators PWC who are looking at further options for the future of the facility".

OilFiredUp.com spoke with several fuel distributors in South East England. Despite closure being the most likely option at Coryton, the consensus was that heating oil and fuel supplies were likely to be unaffected by the proposed winding down of operations. Another person familiar with the situation told OilFiredUp.com that whilst it is now all but certain that refining activities will cease, there is a strong possibility the terminal will be sold and converted into a storage depot.

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