New CEO leads ‘green’ transformation of Mersey oil refinery

Based at Ellesmere Port on the banks of the Mersey, Essar Oil (UK) supplies 16% of all the UK’s road fuels but is undergoing a transformation into a low carbon energy hub. Tony McDonough reports

Deepak Maheshwari
Deepak Maheshwari, chief executive of Essar Oil (UK)


Oil refinery giant Essar Oil (UK) has appointed a new chief executive to run the giant Stanlow oil refinery on the banks of the Mersey.

Deepak Maheshwari will take over the site, 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. In July it announced the appointment of Karunakaran (Karan) Hari as chief commercial officer.

Stanlow is seen as a key strategic asset in the energy portfolio of Essar Global Fund, at a “transformative juncture” as it accelerates its transition to North West provider of low carbon energy.

Working closely with the EOUK board, Mr Maheshwari will oversee the delivery of a number of strategic energy transition projects which are aimed at making Stanlow a green refinery to meet the post-carbon needs the UK. 

Among these are HyNet (a low carbon hydrogen energy and carbon capture project) which will transform the North West of England and North Wales into one of the world’s first low carbon industrial clusters, together with the building of a Biofuels business which will include production of both renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). 

With more than 25 years’ senior leadership experience, across the utilities, energy, and infrastructure sectors in Europe and Asia, Mr Maheshwari will lead an experienced management team. 

Most recently, Deepak was chief financial officer and head of strategy at Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, India’s largest commercial multi-port operator. He was previously chief financial officer of Essar Energy.

Bro Nyborg
Bro Nyborg, a tanker on the Mersey head for Stanlow. Picture by Tony McDonough


He said: “I am delighted to be joining EOUK as chief executive officer and look forward to building on the impressive legacy that Essar colleagues have created. The UK’s green economy continues to develop and flourish and the Board and I will work hard to ensure EOUK sits at the fulcrum of the UK’s sustainable, low carbon future.” 

Since acquiring Stanlow from oil giant Shell in 2011, Essar has invested $1 billion in profitability improvements and other efficiency initiatives to ensure the refinery remains competitive in a rapidly changing market. 

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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