June 26, 2012 / 4:48 PM / 6 years ago

Shell and partners to turn Coryton into terminal

LONDON (Reuters) - The Coryton refinery, which was formerly run by now insolvent Petroplus PEPFF.PK, will be sold to a joint venture of Shell UK Ltd, Vopak (VOPA.AS) and Greenergy as a terminal, administrator PwC and the companies said on Tuesday.

“The Administrators understand that the joint venture parties intend that the future use of the site is to be an import terminal, after significant reconfiguration of the existing site,” the administrator said in a press statement.

The 180 employees immediately affected will be individually notified of their redundancy on Wednesday, the statement said.

Shell UK Ltd is Royal Dutch Shell’s UK unit (RDSa.L). Greenergy is a wholesaler of auto-fuels in the UK. Vopak, headquartered in Rotteram, is one of the world’s largest oil storage tank operators.

The PwC spokeswoman declined to disclose the value of the sale.

The Coryton refinery, or Petroplus Reining Marketing Ltd (PRML) under administration, was once seen as the top asset of Petroplus.

It stopped processing crude oil in May as its estimated $1 billion price tag, including planned maintenance later this year, failed to attract buyers since Petroplus filed insolvency in December.

“The sale of the assets of PRML will be completed once the current refinery closure process has been concluded,” PwC said.

“This is likely to take some months, as the various units are decommissioned and remaining crude and refined products are removed from the site.”

The shutdown of the site has led to a spate of protests.

The joint venture will be equally held by Shell UK, Greenergy and Vopak. The companies said in a joint statement.

“The three companies plan to develop and invest in a state-of-the-art import and distribution terminal to be managed by Vopak,” the statement said.

It had a capacity to process 175,000 barrels of crude oil per day and additional 65,000 barrels of feedstock per day.

Petroplus’ sites in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium have been bought as refineries by trading titans Gunvor and Vitol with AtlasInvest, the investment firm of Petroplus founder Marcel van Poecke.

Reporting by Ikuko Kurahone and Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Mike Nesbit

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