Energy minister in Coryton discussions

Coryton Oil Refinery in Essex
Speaking yesterday, energy minister, Charles Hendry told representatives from Thurrock Council, Unite, local MPs and the administrator PWC that the government had “looked long and hard at whether or not state aid should be provided for Coryton” before concluding that “the existing overcapacity in the refining industry and declining demand for petrol means that it would not be sustainable.”
Future options for the refinery were discussed along with the work the administrators are doing to secure a sustainable future for the plant. The minister reiterated government’s commitment to help those workers who are at risk of losing their jobs if the refinery closes.
Charles Hendry said: “From the outset of this process, we have worked tirelessly with the administrator to find a way to secure a successful outcome for Coryton and to safeguard local jobs.
“It is extremely disappointing that the administrators have not found a buyer for the refinery, despite their strong efforts.  Unfortunately considerable additional investment is needed to keep the refinery operating efficiently, and this has meant that potential bidders have been faced with high upfront investments to make in the order of some hundreds of millions.
“UK refineries face tough competition from other refineries in Europe and increasingly in Asia, which means that profit margins are low and there is overcapacity in the sector.  If government did step in to help Coryton, this would be a short-term fix, and it could potentially lead to job losses at other refineries which would be at an unfair disadvantage.
 “We realise this is a really worrying time for those who work at the refinery in Coryton, for their families and their communities more generally. We will be doing whatever we can to support people through this difficult period.”