LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The opening of a new oil product storage facility on the site of the shuttered Coryton refinery in eastern England has been delayed by “some months”, its operator said on Thursday, well beyond its planned startup by the end of last year.
A joint venture of Shell, Greenergy and Vopak bought the plant which shut down in June 2012, and planned to open a storage facility called Thames Oilport to hold oil products such as gasoline by the end of 2013.
A Thames Oilport spokesman said it had not anticipated the extent of work needed at the plant which was forced into closure after its owner the Swiss-based Petroplus went bankrupt.
“The quality of the existing assets was lower than expected and we have had to replace much more than expected. The state of the former refinery’s assets has been the main cause of delay to date.”
Oil traders are watching developments at the plant for clues on when the storage facility may open, as prices are influenced by products’ supply and availability in different markets.
Thames Oilport did not specify when it would be opened.
“A significant part of the startup work is behind us, but a lot of work still has to be done and that will be followed by a period of rigorous testing and preparation that could take some months,” the spokesman said.
However, Thames Oilport said that it was looking at expanding the original scale of the storage terminal.
“We now expect to open after a more extensive upgrade and will do so with the capability of meeting a range of market demands, including gasoline, diesel and bitumen, and with lower maintenance and operating costs,” the spokesman said. (Reporting by Simon Falush, editing by David Evans)