PricewaterhouseCoopers has found a buyer for the Coryton Refinery in Essex – previously owned by Petroplus Refining and Marketing – which entered administration earlier this year.
Steven Pearson, joint administrator of Petroplus, said the majority of the assets at the site have been sold to a joint venture backed by Shell UK Limited, Royal Vopak and Greenergy.
These companies will 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 Petroplus 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, 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.
PwC’s Pearson added: “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.”