Skip to main content

Energy and Climate Change Committee investigates decline in UK refining

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The Energy and Climate Change Committee has opened an inquiry, seeking to investigate the potential energy security implications of refinery closures and what needs to be done in order to maintain a suitable baseline level of capacity.

The UK had 18 oil refineries in the late 1970s, however today there are only 7. The Coryton plant in Essex, one of the largest and most modern facilities in Europe, closed last year and the call for feedback comes at a time when Murco seems unable to find a buyer for its Milford Haven plant in Wales; industry observers believe closure is likely.

A Deloitte report commissioned by the DECC in 2010 found that UK refineries were facing increased pressure from a range of sources, including increased competition from refineries in the Middle East and Asia, expected slow growth in demand and increasingly stringent environmental standards.

A similar decline has been experienced across Europe, which today counts only 130 plants in total. The Petit Couronne refinery in Northern France was the latest European refinery to close after a court rejected two bids to take over the facility on the grounds that they didn’t have the requisite investment financing.

High crude prices have meant that refineries have struggled to make a profit. The European economic crisis has also played its part. Indeed, it was this combination of factors that led to the insolvency of Swiss based Petroplus, which owned Coryton.

The deadline for responses to the investigation is May 20. Submissions can be made via the UK Parliament website.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

Read the article online at:


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):