UKPIA said it was saddened by the news from Price Waterhouse Coopers that PRML Coryton Refinery appears destined to cease refining operations shortly with the consequent loss of jobs and supply infrastructure.

Director general of UKPIA Chris Hunt, said: "UK and European refining is facing extremely challenging operating conditions and strong pressure on economic returns. Against this backdrop, finding a buyer for Coryton may have proved too difficult a task for the administrators."

The government said the closure of Coryton in Essex would not have any impact on fuel supply. A spokesperson at the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "Continuing jetty operations at Coryton mean that there should be no loss of supply through the terminal to London and the South East.

"Closure of the refinery reflects over-capacity in the European refining sector."