(Refiles to fix date in dateline)
* Plant employs around 1,000
* Move comes as company shuts units and reduces output
* Company denies reports that the plant is for sale
LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) - Britain’s second-largest oil refinery, Essar’s Stanlow, is set to cut staffing levels in a bid to cut costs, the company said in a statement.
The company is offering voluntary redundancy to around 1,000 staff at the plant in Northwest England, but a spokesman declined to say how many staff were likely to leave as a result.
The company will offer staff a fixed sum, which local news website Chesterfirst said would be £30,000 per head ($51,000), though a spokesman declined to confirm a figure.
The move comes after the plant said it would shutter one third of its production capacity.
Essar Oil UK, a subsidiary of Mumbai based Essar Energy, said its Stanlow refinery in northwest England will shrink its output capacity to around 195,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 296,000 bpd after it mothballs a crude distillation unit by October.
“As a result of this optimised configuration going forward, organisational changes may be required to create additional efficiencies,” the company said.
The company is looking to reduce costs in the face of tight refining margins in Europe and stiff competition from plants outside the region.
Sources said in June that Essar Group planned to sell the refinery, but the company has since said that the plant is not for sale. ($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds) (Reporting by Simon Falush, editing by Louise Heavens)