Government in bid to continue oil refining

The Government is trying to design a scheme in conjunction with the EU to continue oil refining in Ireland, following the end of the legal obligation on the owners of Whitegate oil refinery in 2016.

Government in bid to continue oil refining

The Whitegate oil refinery was withdrawn from sale after it failed to attract any bids that met Philips 66’s minimum requirement for the sale to proceed.

However, the Whiddy Oil Terminal in Bantry Bay has received a number of expressions of interest meeting the minimum requirement for its sale, meaning that its sale will proceed to the next round of negotiations.

Philips 66 has committed to operating the oil refinery for the near future and carrying out a round of maintenance works this year.

A spokesperson for Philips 66 said it was no longer trying to sell the refinery. “We are discontinuing efforts to market the Whitegate Refinery and will continue to operate the refinery and serve our wholesale customers in Ireland as usual.

“Based on the level of interest from potential buyers, we will take the next step in the sales process for the Bantry Bay storage terminal only. The terminal will operate as usual.”

Under the original terms of the sale of the Whitegate oil refinery the owners of the facility must commit to operating the refinery until at least 2016.

In response to a Dáil question from Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan, Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte ruled out the State buying the strategically important refinery due to the current emphasis on the sale of state assets. However, Mr Rabbitte said his department was examining all options to support refining in Ireland.

Mr Rabbitte pointed out that there was currently an EU-wide review into the security of supply due to the number of refineries closing across the continent.

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