The future of the Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire was up in the air last night after it emerged that it was in talks over its finances.
The plant, which supplies about 16 per cent of the UK’s road fuel and employs around 900 people, is owned by Indian multinational Essar.
Sky News first reported that the refinery had lined up vital meetings with Whitehall officials next week.
It is understood that a fall in demand for fuel due to coronavirus lockdowns has hurt the firm’s margins.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Essar Oil UK said that the firm was confident it could survive its current issues.
“We have successfully traded through a very difficult 12 months and are now seeing increased demand for road transport fuels and improving refining margins”, he said.
“Prior to coronavirus [we] were posting EBITDA in excess of $300m per year. We remain confident that we can manage through this period and come out stronger as the economy clearly continues to recover.”
Alongside its financial issues, the firm has been plagued by a string of high-profile resignations, with its last two chief execs resigning after just five months at the helm.
Issues at Stanlow are the latest in a string of high-profile industrial crises currently facing the government.
Officials continue to be in talks with car giant Stellantis about the future of its UK sites, while the scandal engulfing Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance is threatening about 5,000 steel-related jobs in the UK.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said:
“The government has put in place a far-reaching package of support to help businesses across the economy during the pandemic, including the furlough scheme, loans and VAT deferrals.
“The government continually monitors fuel supply across the country to ensure the public do not see any disruption.”