MOST of the assets at collapsed chemical giant Petroplus' Coryton refinery are to be sold to a joint venture made up of other fuel companies.
Refining has stopped at the Essex site after administrators were unable to sell it as a going concern. Around 180 of the site’s 500 staff will now be made redundant.
The company also owns a marketing and oil storage business on Teesside which employed around 60 people and also went into administration at the same time as the refinery in January. It is understood more than half of the staff at the two Teesside offices have been made redundant since it went into administration but the two sites are continuing to operate.
Sources close the sites said they were hopeful other oil storage businesses on Teesside may be interested in taking over the offices.
Joint administrators Steven Pearson and Stephen Oldfield of PwC had continued operating the Coryton refinery as a going concern until earlier this month when it became apparent there was little appetite from either the oil industry or investors to buy the site as such.
They have now agreed to sell most of the site to a group made up of Royal Vopak, Greenergy and Shell UK Limited, which intends to convert it into an import terminal.
All crude and refined oil is currently being removed from the site ahead of its closure.
Administrator Steven Pearson 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.
“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.”
After the initial 180 job losses, further redundancies are expected from late July with a skeleton staff retained to keep the site secure. About 350 contractors were also employed at Coryton.