On June 26, the joint administrators of Petroplus Refining and Marketing Ltd (PRML) announced that they had entered into an agreement for the sale of the majority of the assets at the Coryton site to a joint venture, consisting of Royal Vopak, Greenergy and Shell UK Limited.
The administrators understand that the joint venture parties intend that the future use of the site is to be an import terminal, after significant reconfiguration of the existing site. The administrators are presently overseeing the removal of all crude oil and refined products from the site and are managing the safe closure of the refinery.
The sale follows a five month exercise to explore all the options for the refinery. As stated by the administrators in May, there was insufficient interest from the oil industry and financial investors in acquiring the business as an operational refinery and, as such, the administrators commenced steps to cease operations with a view to selling the site for an alternative use. Refining ceased at the plant earlier in June.
The sale of the assets of PRML will be completed once the current refinery closure process has been concluded. This is likely to take some months, as the various units are decommissioned and remaining crude and refined products are removed from the site. There is no change to the redundancy programme announced by the administrators earlier in June. As a reminder, approximately 180 roles will be made redundant in June, with further redundancies anticipated from late July onwards as the closure progresses. 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. Ultimately, the administrators have a legal responsibility to achieve the best price possible for the assets and we have been able to obtain the highest price by selling the site for an alternative use. We understand that the joint venture partners intend to develop the site in due course, which we hope will provide an important and stable source of supply of fuel for the foreseeable future.
“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.
“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.”
New import terminal for oil products at Coryton