Coryton likely to end up as storage facility
19 June 2012
Administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said on June 18 around 180 staff would be laid off at the Coryton refinery east of London next week. Workers were told about the layoffs at a meeting at which it was also announced there would be further redundancies at the end of July, a union source told Reuters. This would mean the vast majority of the 850 jobs on site would be lost, according to the news agency.
The union source said PwC reiterated its message that the most likely scenario was the terminal becoming a storage terminal. Royal Dutch Shell, Greenergy and Vopak have expressed interest in buying the plant for this purpose, union officials said last week.
But Russian oligarch Igor Yusufov, the former Russian energy minister, says he is still interested in buying the refinery and wants a technical audit before signing a deal. "We are still having discussions but there has not been an acceptable economic proposal, and until there is, I don't expect a sale," Steven Pearson of PwC said last week.
An earlier Reuters investigation of Yusufov, who was energy minister during Vladimir Putin's first term as president, concluded that his efforts to rescue the refinery and its jobs could be undermined by his past deals with distressed assets.
Yusufov has faced questions about a past operation involving the purchase of a Norwegian shipyard group which subsequently failed, with some assets transferred offshore in transactions deemed illegal by the official receiver. The group's former owner died in a shooting last year that remains unsolved.
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