Coryton refinery shipments start as deal signed

Essex MP Stephen Metcalfe (Con) said it was a positive step for Coryton

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Fears of fuel shortages have been eased after shipments were restarted at Coryton oil refinery in Essex.

Administrators have signed a deal with customers to allow oil to be shipped from the site, which supplies 20% of south-east England's fuel.

Drivers had been urged not to stock up on fuel after the plant's Swiss owner Petroplus said it would file for bankruptcy on Tuesday.

The future of the 500 people who work at the refinery is still unclear.

The number of staff includes 350 contractors.

'Business as usual'

Energy Minister Charles Hendry had urged drivers not to panic buy fuel following the site's closure on Tuesday.

While deliveries have started again, a spokeswoman for administrators PRML could not confirm if the shipments were running at full capacity.

"The priority for administrators was to continue operating the refinery," she added.

"Clearly, now that this arrangement has been agreed with the customers, they can carry on with business as usual."

As well as refining oil for use as fuel, the Coryton site - which is one of eight refineries in the UK - also imports fuel from other countries which has already been refined.

Administrator Steven Pearson said: "I am pleased that we are able to resume fuel supplies in the region.

"The team has worked collaboratively with customers to get to this stage so quickly."

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