Mersey oil refinery secures new airport fuel deal

Essar Oil (UK) employs 800 people at its giant refinery on the banks of the Mersey and has struck a new deal to supply jet fuel to its sixth UK airport. Tony McDonough reports

Essar Oil UK
Essar Oil (UK) will supply jet fuel to airline at Cardiff Airport


Oil refinery giant Essar Oil (UK) has struck a deal to start supplying aviation fuel from its Liverpool city region facility to airlines based at Cardiff Airport in South Wales.

Cardiff will be the sixth airport that uses jet fuel supplied by Essar. And the company said on Wednesday that new deals have already been secured with various carriers that operate flights from the facility. The fuel will be transported via road tankers.

Essar already supplies fuel to airlines at other UK airports including Liverpool, Manchester Birmingham, London Stansted and Leeds-Bradford. Manchester Airport is supplied directly by a pipeline, called the Manchester Jet Line, from Essar’s refinery at Stanlow in Ellesmere Port.

Adam Brayne, aviation and business development manager at Essar, said: “Adding Cardiff Airport to our UK network is a further chapter in our growth story, as Essar continues to support major airlines through what we hope will be a recovery period for the sector.

“We look forward to a successful partnership with the airport and are delighted to have already secured direct business with a number of key airline customers there.” 

Earlier this week Essar Oil (UK) unveiled its new chief executive, Deepak Maheshwari, to take over at Stanlow which employs 800 people and supplies 16% of all the UK’s road fuels. He has been tasked with accelerating its transition into a low carbon energy provider of the future’.

Mr Maheshwari’s arrival comes following a turbulent period for Essar Oil In Ellesmere Port which in May 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. 

Speaking about the latest jet fuel deal, David Walters, chief financial Officer of Cardiff Airport, added: “We have been working hard to ensure suitable choice is available to our airline partners at Cardiff Airport, and we are very pleased that Essar has agreed to work with us as a new long-term fuel partner.”

Essar acquired the then loss-making Stanlow refinery from Shell in 2011, Essar has invested more than £700m in the site and made it profitable. 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.

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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