Petrol supply under threat as Petroplus files for insolvency

THE OWNER of the Coryton oil refinery, Petroplus, yesterday filed for bankruptcy, putting 1,000 jobs at risk as well as petrol supplies in the south east.

The refinery in Essex, which supplies 20 per cent of fuel for south east England, halted sales and told staff it was not sure when supplies would restart. The Swiss based firm has defaulted on £1.12bn of debt.

East of England MEP Richard Howitt said: “Supplies across London and the South East could be affected by this.” The union Unite said the Swiss owners and government needed to take joint action.

A site worker and union official said yesterday a decision on whether to close Coryton is expected at the weekend.

The union official, who declined to be named, said crude stocked at the site would not last much longer than three to four days.

In another blow to the UK’s fuel supply, more than 80 fuel tanker drivers at the ConocoPhillips oil refinery at South Killingholme in North Lincolnshire began a week-long strike yesterday. They claim their employer, haulage firm Wincanton, is trying to reduce their pay by as much as a fifth.