* Negotiations continue over plant's future
* PWC says exploring crude supply deal for plant
By Emma Farge
GENEVA, Feb 5 Petroplus's UK administrator
said on Sunday that it had bought a cargo of crude oil for
processing at its Coryton plant as it seeks to conclude
negotiations with interested parties to save the plant.
Switzerland's Petroplus, the owner of the 175,000 barrel per
day plant near London, has filed for insolvency, and
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has maintained operations at
Coryton since Jan. 24.
"An oil tanker is now heading towards Coryton and will
replenish crude stocks refined over the last 11 days. This
purchase means we are able to continue refining operations
whilst we seek to conclude discussions and negotiations with
parties looking to continue refining at Coryton in the immediate
term," said Steven Pearson, joint administrator and PwC partner
in a statement.
PWC said one of the options for the plant was to set up a
"tolling arrangement" for the plant whereby a third party
supplies regular deliveries to the refinery.
The company's UK refinery at Coryton has attracted more
than 40 interested parties, UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry
said, though some analysts have cast doubt on how many of these
are serious buyers, given the chronic problems affecting the
European refining sector.
PwC did not specify the third party supplying crude oil to
Petroplus, although BP sold a cargo of North Sea Ekofisk
crude to the Coryton plant in mid-January, trade sources said.
Petroplus, Europe's largest independent refiner, was forced
to shut three of its five refineries in France, Belgium and
Antwerp last month because of a lack of crude oil.