Coryton has attracted more than 40 interested parties following the insolvency of its owner Petroplus, the government has confirmed.

The interest in the Coryton refinery was described as “extremely encouraging” by energy minister Charles Hendry, while administrator Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) said the expressions of interest ranged from “the speculative to the highly credible”.

Interested parties are thought to include major European oil companies, trading houses and companies from the Middle East and Russia.

Following a meeting of the administrators, local politicians, industry and unions at the Department of Energy and Climate Change in Central London yesterday, the energy minister said: “We have had another positive meeting at which the joint administrators updated those present on what they have achieved so far and their planned next steps.

“I welcome the progress that the administrators have made,” Hendry added. “The deal last week that allowed petrol and diesel to be delivered to forecourts from the refinery was a crucial boost, while the crude oil delivery acquired on Tuesday was important to maintaining refining operations. The collaborative approach taken by the workforce and the refinery’s management has also been vital in making these things happen.

“There are critical issues to be resolved in the coming weeks. Work will now focus on securing a sustainable long-term future for the refinery.”

The Coryton refinery, which can process 175,000 barrels of crude oil per day and supplies 20% of transport fuels in London and the Southeast, has been in UK administration with PwC since January 24. The administrator bought one cargo of crude oil on Tuesday, allaying fears that a lack of supplies would force it to stop operations.

Related articles:

>> Coryton administrators acquire cargo of oil

>> Coryton supplies in limbo as crude oil shipments await payment

>> Coryton fuel deliveries stopped as Petroplus runs out of cash