Part of the old refinery catalytic cracking unit, the chimney and distillation columns have stood idle since the refinery closed in 2012 following the administration of Petroplus.
“The whole community was sad to see the refinery close in 2012,” said Nick Lewin, from Grays, who was employed on the refinery unit for more than 15 years.
“It was the end of an era, but part of the site has a new life receiving fuel ships and storing fuel for the south east of England. Life moves on and I’m pleased that work is ongoing on the rest of the site to attract new businesses and, more importantly, jobs into the area.”
The refinery demolition programme began in November 2014 and is being managed by specialists Brown and Mason Ltd. Some 46,000 tonnes of steel, enough for six Eiffel Towers, have already been removed for recycling and re-use.
“This former refinery is a unique regeneration opportunity, both in terms of its scale and its location so close to London and at the heart of the south east,” said Andrew Owens, chief executive of Greenergy, the majority owner of Thames Enterprise Park.
“With excellent road, rail and river connections, this is an attractive location for many employment-generating businesses. Our framework planning application, to create an enterprise park on the former refinery land, already has the support of Thurrock Council,” added Andrew.
“We’re now moving onto the next stage, to prepare detailed planning applications to allow us to put in place the infrastructure that new businesses will need on site.”