Fears over oil jobs

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DOZENS of workers at a Tees Valley fuel supply firm were today waiting on tenterhooks to hear if they still had a job after their parent company fell into administration.

Worries were mounting for staff at Petroplus Refining Teesside, which operates an oil storage site at Port Clarence, near Hartlepool.

The Mail understands that around 40 people work at the site including men from areas including Hartlepool and Billingham.

Petroplus also used to own a refinery in the same area, which closed in 2009, and which employed around 150 people.

Today one of those ex-workers, who did not want to be identified, told the Mail: “It is a worrying time. I had more than 30 years service there and I get my pension from there. So do other people. How safe are they?

“There are still 40 people working there who could lose their jobs, as well as contractors, wagon drivers and maintenance men.

“There are men who have been there a number of years and will they get redundancy pay?”

A statement was released yesterday by oil refinery giants Petroplus, the parent organisation of the Tees Valley firm. It said the firm planned to file for insolvency.

Petroplus reported a net loss of £265m in the first nine months of last year, while in December its banks withdrew a £675m portion of its £1.29 billion credit facility.

Chief executive officer Jean-Paul Vettier said: “We have worked hard to avoid this outcome, but were ultimately not able to come to an agreement with our lenders to resolve these issues given the very tight and difficult European credit and refining markets.

“We are fully aware of the impact that this will have on our workforce, their families and the communities where we have operated our businesses.”

Steven Pearson and Ian Green, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, have been appointed joint administrators at Petroplus Refining Teesside.