Mersey oil giant Essar adds new face to its top team

A few weeks after shoring up its balance sheet by securing a £600m credit facility, Liverpool city region oil refinery giant Essar Oil UK has made a change to its executive team. Tony McDonough reports

Karunakaran Hari
Karunakaran Hari, chief commercial officer at Essar Oil UK


Liverpool city region oil refinery operator Essar Oil UK has appointed a new chief commercial officer.

In May Essar, which employs almost 1,000 people at the huge Stanlow refinery at Ellesmere Port, secured a new credit facility worth more than $850m (£600m) to shore up its balance sheet following a period of tough trading during the pandemic.

Now it has announced a change to its executive team with the appointment of Karunakaran (Karan) Hari as CCO. Mr Hari has been with the company, which supplies almost a fifth of all UK road fuels, since February 2020 as head of international trading and supplies.

During that time has built a team by identifying and developing individuals from within the business. He is a graduate in management studies, with close to 35 years of experience, both in the UK and overseas.He has worked in a range of government and private companies including oil major BP and global trading house Trafigura. 

Essar chairman Prashant Ruia commented: “I am delighted that we are able to recognise and promote individuals from within the company to our leadership team. This is an important appointment, with Karan bringing huge industry expertise and experience to this senior role.” 

Since acquiring Stanlow in 2011, Essar has invested more than £700m in the Essar Oil UK business. The site’s largest ever turnaround in 2018 saw the successful delivery of a project that increased annual throughput capacity from 68m to 75m barrels, as well as improving yields and driving revenues.

Essar is a major supplier in the North West and beyond with customers including most of the major retail brands operated by international oil companies and supermarkets, Manchester Airport, leading commercial airlines and the region’s trains and buses.

It is also responsible for more than 700 ships coming in and out of the Mersey every year. Around 140 vessels, carrying up to 170,000 tonnes of crude oil in a single cargo arrive at Tranmere Oil Terminal each year. The oil is then pumped to Stanlow along an eight-mile pipeline.

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