The Essex Euro MP who has helped lead the campaign to save the Coryton oil refinery in Thurrock after its parent company went bankrupt in January, has said press reports that the plant could be turned in to a terminal would signal the end for hundreds of jobs at the site.
Labour’s Richard Howitt MEP said as confidential negotiations are at a sensitive stage concerning the future of the plant, he was still hopeful that a better solution could still be found.
The Sunday Times today reported that it is expected that the refinery will be converted in to a terminal, receiving and distributing shipments but with refining undertaken elsewhere.
Richard Howitt MEP, who is personally due to meet representatives of one of the remaining bidders on Monday, commented:
“Converting Coryton in to a terminal would be a low-grade solution for a high-grade product.
“Although it was always said to be one of the options, I was told in advance operating as a terminal alone would mean the loss of around 80 per cent of the 1,000 jobs on the site, and I have to say this would be a disastrous outcome for all involved.
“It is very disappointing that this story has appeared in the national press in this way, without prior consultation with those of us negotiating for Coryton’s future, and I can only hope that the report proves to be a false one.
“Only last week the European summit I instigated was discussing how we could keep refining operations here and not see them lost to Asia and the Middle East, but that appears to be precisely what would happen if this report is true.
“I am not giving up hope and the campaign will go on.”