MPs to investigate decline of refining industry

LONDON Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:45pm BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - A committee of MPs will examine the decline of the country's refining industry and its potential implications on the security of energy supplies, it said on Friday.

High costs, foreign competition and declining margins have led in recent years to a dramatic consolidation in Europe's refining industry, which today counts around 130 plants.

Just seven refineries remain in Britain after Coryton in Essex, eastern England, closed last year.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee invited short submissions of evidence from industry players and observers about the potential energy security implications of refinery closures.

The call for feedback comes as Murco has been unable to find a buyer for its Milford Haven plant in Wales, which some industry observers say is likely to face closure.

It also follows the first meeting of the Forum for EU Refining last Friday to discuss the situation in the industry, which covered topics including competitive pressure now felt from Russia and U.S. unconventional energy.

The Petit Couronne refinery in northern France was the latest European refinery to shut down after a court rejected two takeover offers for the 84-year-old 162,000 barrels per day (bpd) plant on Tuesday.

The deadline for responses to the UK parliamentary investigation is May 20, while the next meeting of the Forum for EU refining is in the autumn of 2013.

(Reporting by Simon Falush; Editing by Mark Potter)

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