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Shell looks to buy Coryton for storage: union

LONDON | Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:29pm BST

(Reuters) – Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), fuel distribution firm Greenergy and storage company Vopak are putting together a joint bid to buy the Coryton refinery as a storage terminal, a union official said on Wednesday.

The union said it would fight the move, which would put the vast majority of the 900 workforce out of a job, and will step up protests to encourage the government to support a bid to keep it operational.

“We’re hearing it’s a tripartate agreement,” said Russ Ball, regional representative for Unite the Union.

“It’s something we are fighting against, we are going to take our protests at fuel terminals national and we will be protesting outside DECC (the Department for Energy and Climate Change) tomorrow,” he said.

The purchase would enable the firms to better control fuel distribution to London and the southeast of England.

Workers from the Coryton refinery on Monday and Tuesday disrupted the supply of fuel heading to some petrol stations in the southeast of the country.

Coryton is currently being wound down as crude supplies run out, and redundancies are expected next week.

Shell and Greenergy declined to comment. Coryton administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers and Vopak were unavailable for immediate comment.

(Reporting by Simon Falush; Editing by David Cowell)

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