Device Shuts UK Refinery

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 @ 05:05 PM gHale

A piece of equipment regulating steam pressure is now under repair and has shut down a unit at the UK refinery Coryton, formerly owned by the now-bankrupt Petroplus, a union representative said.

The news raised concerns about the refinery’s future and that of 900 jobs, as administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) looks to sell the plant after the Swiss-based owner went bankrupt at the start of the year. One bidder is still in the running to buy the plant.

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A tanker was sitting outside the terminal, unable to discharge crude, said Russ Ball, regional representative of the Unite union.

He said the outage, which started last week, would not have a serious impact on negotiations by PwC to sell the plant.

“It’s a glitch. It’s unfortunate timing, but it’s not a major catastrophe,” he said.

It was unclear whether the plant had completely stopped processing crude, or was partially running, Ball said.

An agreement by Morgan Stanley and private equity group KKR to supply the plant with crude expired last week, but Ball said it was likely the agreement rolled forward on a weekly or monthly basis.

He added in April it netted the consortium around $40 million.

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