This is very sad news for the workers at Coryton, who will be extremely disappointed that PWC has been unable to find a buyer for the site as a refinery.
We are doing everything we can to help these skilled people to find new posts, and are working with the Thurrock Council taskforce, local agencies and Jobcentre Plus to ensure they get the support they need at this difficult time.
There is however some comfort in this announcement for the local community.
Vopak, Greenergy and Shell have committed to investing a substantial amount in the site to develop it as a state-of-the-art import terminal. This includes paying for enhancements to the infrastructure that will keep the site viable for many years.
As a result, the UK will have a new import terminal and its first deep water product jetty. This will allow low-cost high quality diesel to be imported, thereby enhancing security of supply for London and the South East, and more affordable prices at the pumps.
The construction and operation of the terminal should also create significant economic activity in the region over the next 2-3 years. Vopak estimate that up to 50 direct jobs could be supported at the terminal. But, there will be much wider knock-on effects, with additional jobs available for contractors with skills in maintenance, security, engineering, truck driving and construction.
To continue operating as a refinery, some hundreds of millions would have needed to be invested in the plant, and unfortunately this has presented a huge barrier to potential new owners to invest because of the costs involved.
The site is of exceptional value as an import terminal because of its location and amenities, so it is not surprising that it has had a higher sale value as an import terminal, which does not also require the extra investment a refinery would need.