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Refinery regeneration is fuelled up for success; Fuel supplier Greenergy has completed the first significant milestone in its project to regenerate a former refinery on Teesside. KELLEY PRICE finds out more.

Byline: KELLEY PRICE

GREENERGY has invested an eight-figure sum in the former Petroplus refinery at Seal Sands - which is now called Greenergy North Tees - as part of a UK-wide PS200m programme of investment in fuel infrastructure.

Works include a new petrol rail loading facility, pipeline links to other storage facilities on Teesside - and improvements to tanks, road loading and import facilities.

They have been welcomed by Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham for bolstering local employment - and making Teesside a "major contributor" to the UK's fuel security.

The new rail loading facility means petrol can be transported from the region by train to other UK locations for the first time.

The hub, which can also handle diesel, means fuel can be moved more efficiently by rail rather than by road or shipping throughout the UK.

Each train has the capacity to transport two million litres of fuel - taking more than 50 tankers off the road.

Greenergy, which is the UK's leading road fuel supplier, employs a multidisciplinary team of more than 25 people at its North Tees facility and a further 18 fuel tanker drivers.

Local contract workers clocked up 110,000 hours at the terminal during the last financial year, thanks to the company's policy of employing contractors from the area wherever possible.

Greenergy has carried out the upgrades to provide a supply terminal that's as 'flexible' as possible - and able to respond to changes in fuel supply and demand trends, which include added pressures on European and UK refiners to shift demand from petrol to diesel.

Other changes in the sector are coming from the closure of traditional export markets in the US and Asia, which is also affecting refiners according to Greenergy. "Fracking" is also impacting global trade flows by turning the US from an importer to an exporter of oil, while Asia is benefiting from a new breed of super-sized modern refineries.

The regeneration of North Tees takes these trends into account, according to the company, by creating a 'modern' supply terminal that capable of receiving product on large, long-range tankers from the lowest cost global producers.

By sourcing competitively priced oil, bosses claim, the company is able to keep costs as low as possible and pass on savings to customers.

The former refinery was closed by previous owner Petroplus in 2010 and used as a diesel terminal.

It was acquired by Greenergy from Petroplus' administrators in July 2012.

Andrew Owens, Greenergy Chief Executive said: "With the number of UK refineries falling from 19 in 1975 to just seven today, the UK relies on import terminals for an increasing proportion of its fuel.

"Our major programme of investment at terminals across the UK is creating the modern and flexible facilities we all need for the future.

"The regeneration of the North Tees facility ensures greater fuel resilience in the North East and beyond. This is a major site with the potential to provide back-up supply to other locations such as Scotland if required."

Following a visit to the site on the opening of the new rail loading facility, Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North said: "The transformation of Greenergy North Tees terminal has helped bolster the local economy by providing work for local contractors.

"It's also putting Teesside back on the map as a major contributor to the UK's fuel security."

The North Tees regeneration follows investments by Greenergy over the last six years, in storage and distribution facilities including at an adjacent site on Teesside, Thames Oilport (acquired in 2012 in a joint venture with Vopak and Shell) Cardiff, Plymouth and West Thurrock, Thames.

Greenergy is the UK's largest supplier of road fuel and third largest private company in the UK. Customers include oil companies, supermarkets, petrol stations and fleet users. Fuel sales for the financial year April 2013 - April 2014 totalled 15 billion litres.

CAPTION(S):

On the left, loading the first train with fuel are, from the left, MP Alex Cunningham, Dave Simpson, Greenergy senior operations manager, and Nigel Atterton, Greenergy shift operator. Above Mr Simpson shows Mr Cunningham how the regenerated facility operates
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 26, 2014
Words:680
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