Oil industry big hitter takes top job at Essar’s Stanlow refinery

Mark Wilson will head up the operation at Stanlow on the banks of the Mersey, one of the largest refineries in the country which supplies 16% of all UK road transport fuels. Tony McDonough reports

Stanlow Refinery
Mark Wilson, chief executive of Essar Oil UK


A leading oil industry executive is to take charge of Essar Oil UK’s giant Stanlow oil refinery on the banks of the River Mersey.

Mark Wilson will head up the operation at Stanlow, one of the largest refineries in the country which supplies 16% of all UK road transport fuels. He succeeds S. Thangapandian who is retiring to India after three years in the role.

The global Essar Group acquired the then loss-making Stanlow in 2011 from Shell and has since invested £650m turning it into a sustainable and profitable business which now generates annual revenues of more than £4bn and employs more than 1,000 people.

Every year the site produces 4.4bn litres of diesel, 3bn litres of petrol and 2bn litres of jet fuel. More than 9m tonnes of crude oil and feed-stock processed each year. The business has also established a growing network of retail outlets.

Mr Wilson has international experience at the highest levels in both the downstream and petrochemical industries.  During his time at BP. he held a number of senior leadership positions, including chief executive, Global Acetyls (Shanghai, China).

He previously worked for Innovene LLC as Vice President, Solutions BU (Brussels, Belgium).  He has a First Class Honours Degree in electronic engineering from the University of Southampton and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the Essar Oil UK business in the next stage of its development,” said Mr Wilson. “The company has adapted extremely well to a fast-changing market since taking over the Stanlow Refinery in 2011.”

Prashant Ruia, non-executive chairman, Essar Oil UK, added: “Our UK operations remain central to the Essar Group’s strategic plans and we will continue to invest to further our growth ambitions here. 

“We enter a new decade determined to transform the business to ensure its long term sustainability and Mark’s vision and leadership will be critical in meeting that challenge.”

And S. Thangapandian also said:  “I have very much valued my time in the UK and have been fortunate to work with many talented and dedicated colleagues.  The company is at a key point in its development, with exciting plans over the next five years to build a robust and futuristic business. 

“Mark has the qualities necessary to do an outstanding job leading the team forward, and I wish him every success in his new role.”

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