Essex County Council has today pledged its support to the Thurrock Council taskforce being set up following the announcement of the possible closure of the Coryton Oil Refinery.
The site’s administrators Price Waterhouse Coopers announced yesterday that they had been unable to find a buyer for the refinery and were seeking to start negotiations with unions and employers over its closure.
This would mean the loss of up to 500 jobs at the refinery and impact on other companies providing services to the site.
– County Councillor Kevin Bentley, cabinet member for Economic Development
“We have worked closely with Thurrock Council ever since it emerged the refinery was under threat and we remain committed to working with them in the task force they are forming to co-ordinate support and next steps.
“Providing all the help, support and advice needed to those affected is not something that one organisation can provide – it needs to be a partnership approach. This is why we will be continuing to offer our full support to Thurrock Council and others in helping do everything we can to help the workers and ease the impact of any closure of the refinery.”
The news that the administrators of the Coryton Oil Refinery have announced that they are to close it has been greeted with dismay by Essex Chambers of Commerce.
– Denise Rossiter, Essex Chambers Chief Executive
“This is a sad day for the 500 employees of Petroplus at Coryton as well as the various sub-contractors employed there. The Coryton site has been home to a refinery for nearly 100 years and its contribution to the economy of South Essex over those years has been significant.
"Although the administrators feel it is unlikely that a buyer can be found we very much hope that perhaps a deal to save the plant may be achieved before the deadline for final closure runs out”
The announcement that the Coryton oil refinery in Essex cannot be saved as a "going concern," with consultations starting on 500 redundancies, has been called a "bitter blow" by the Euro MP who was leading the campaign to save it.
Labour's Richard Howitt MEP said he had written to the Energy Minister last week and spoken personally with the Government urging them to intervene "before it is too late" but said his appeal had "fallen on deaf ears."
– Richard Howitt, MEP
“The process of selling the company through the administrators has failed but it is the government which should have stepped in earlier.
"I know the administrators had asked them to provide state aid as part of a rescue deal, and personally urged them to intervene before it was too late.
"If Belgian and Swiss refineries can be saved and the French government can provide £16m to help save theirs, there is no excuse for the British government to sit on its hands.
"This is a failure of political will."
The Government's described news of the closure at Coryton as disappointing and particularly bad news for workers.
It says Coryton’s workforce is highly skilled and should be well-positioned to take advantage of new opportunities.
– Department of Energy and Climate Change
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 there have been 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”.
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, went into administration earlier this year.
Administrators Price Waterhouse Coopers 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.