The Coryton refinery supplies 20% of fuel for the region but its Swiss parent company, Petroplus, has gone into administration.
The average price of a litre of unleaded petrol is currently 133.89p with a litre of diesel costing on average 142.21p. With the price of petrol currently less than 4p off its all-time high and diesel just 1p shy, there are fears that pump prices could soar to new record levels.
Brian Madderson, chairman of RMIPetrol was quoted in The Independent (Wednesday, January 25) as saying: ‘By the end of the month, diesel will have hit a record high while petrol will be pushing up towards record levels as suppliers scrabble to bring in supplies from Europe.’
Oil Minister Charles Hendry has stepped in to dampen speculation saying that major companies such as BP and Shell, which are the main buyers from Coryton, had enough fuel to keep pumps operating.
However, there was also speculation that supplies acrossLondonand the South East could be seriously affected with warnings to motorists not to panic buy.