There could be a possible buyer for the troubled Coryton oil refinery in Essex, according to the Unite union.

Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: “We understand that there is a possible buyer for Coryton. We can’t say who it is at present as that might jeopardise any negotiations. We understand the possible purchaser has made contact with the government.

“However, we urge the administrators PWC to make contact urgently with the possible purchaser as nearly 1,000 vital jobs are at stake.”

Unite has already called on the government to follow the example of the French government and act in the national interest by giving state aid to keep Coryton running until a viable buyer can be found.

Linda McCulloch said: “At a time when there is concern about the future security of fuel and energy supplies to the UK, ministers need to act in the national interest and be prepared to step in to safeguard Coryton until the plant has a new owner.

“Coryton is too important to the economy, nationally and locally, and to fuel supplies to be allowed to close.”

A public meeting has been called at the Pitsea Leisure Centre, Northlands Pavement, Basildon, Essex, SS13 3DU for 7.30pm, Monday June 18 to rally support to keep the refinery open.

Unite said Thurrock council has commissioned an economic impact assessment on the closure or change of use of the site, with initial indications pointing to the loss of £30 million in wages, £26 million in contractor costs, £6 million in locally sourced materials, as well as £40 million spent on chemicals and utilities, plus £5 million in business rates.