Press reports suggesting the Thames Oilport development has been ‘put on ice’ have been dismissed as an overstatement by a spokesman for the project.

The news outlets were responding to a statement released by the joint venture (JV) company running the project saying: “The timetable for Thames Oilport remains under review as the three JV partners work together to consider the best configuration and footprint.

“Following further analysis of the condition of the existing refinery infrastructure, a decision has been taken to pause the current design works while a revised configuration and footprint is agreed. Meanwhile, planning for the development of Thames Enterprise Park continues uninterrupted."

The spokesman said the company had been surprised by the press reaction to what he described as a routine statement about a “temporary pause”.

Thames Oilport is a joint venture between Royal Vopak, Greenergy and Shell UK which in December 2012 took over the the Coryton Oil refinery on the estuary of the River Thames.

Coryton had supplied 20% of London and the south east’s fuel but its owner Petroplus collapsed in January 2012 and it ceased production in June that year.

The partners are converting the refinery into a fuel storage terminal for import and distribution in UK. Last year it was reported that the first cargo would be delivered to the terminal before the end of the 2013, but since then the partners have said completion of the project has been delayed because the quality of the existing assets at the site was lower than expected and much more would have to be replaced than expected.

However, in Greenergy’s annual report published in August, chief executive Andrew Owens said the deep water jetty at the terminal was crucial as it would allow Greenergy to purchase direct from the lowest cost producers, and he concluded that despite delays the potential of the site exceeded original expectations.