The UK must continue investing in its refineries in order to balance fuel supply, says UKPIA, the trade association which represents the nine main oil refining companies.

Director general Chris Hunt said that although it was not short of refining capacity in the UK it would need to re-balance the output, which would require substantial investment. "The delivery of this investment in the UK rather than overseas is influenced by government policy, so the UK must remain an attractive place to do business," he said. He was responding to the DTI’s review of UK oil refining capacity which concludes that refineries need to adapt to evolving trends in oil product demand within an increasingly competitive global refining environment. It says falling North Sea oil production will require UK refiners to either invest to process other poorer quality feedstocks or process more expensive feedstocks. The UK refineries also face the challenge of improving their competitiveness.

The review accompanies the government’s Energy White Paper which contains plans to meet future UK energy needs, via a rise in renewable energy and the use of energy-saving measures.

Hunt said the Paper outlined government plans to analyse whether road transport could be included in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme by requiring fuel producers to hold carbon allowances to cover carbon emitted from the fuel they sell to consumers.