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Fuelling the UK’s future – the role of our refining and downstream oil industry

PRESS RELEASE                                                               

30th November 2011



Fuelling the UK’s future – the role of our refining and downstream oil industry

UKPIA, the trade association representing the main oil refining and marketing companies in the UK, has published a new study looking at the future role of the refining and downstream industry. It comes at a time when the refining sector faces severe pressures on a number of fronts, the response to which could be critical in shaping its future direction and its capability to be a secure and resilient source of energy for the UK.

Chris Hunt, Director General, commented “Energy analysts forecast that the difficult commercial climate for refineries is likely to continue in the coming years, whilst at the same time the cumulative effect of EU and UK legislation is adding substantial cost burdens not faced by our non-EU competitors.”

He continued: “Given the right policy environment, the UK refining and downstream oil sector can continue to play a pivotal role in the future as a reliable, resilient and secure source of transport fuels and other vital industrial feedstocks. The Energy Minister’s recent statement that the Department of Energy and Climate Change will work in collaboration with the UK refining industry to consider the issues and approach that Government should take in developing a policy framework for the industry, is welcomed.”



Enquiries to: Nick Vandervell, UKPIA Tel. 020 7269 7604


Notes to editors:


  1. UKPIA represents nine oil refining and marketing companies that operate the 8 major oil refineries in the UK; the refineries processed 73 million tonnes of crude oil and produced 75.4 million tonnes of refined products in 2010 (Source: DECC- DUKES data). UKPIA members also own around 2,200 of the 8,787 filling stations in the UK.

The main highlights of the study are:

  • UK energy demand is likely to show little growth or even decline in some sectors
  • energy demand globally is growing and will continue to do so, especially in non-OECD countries
  • meeting rapidly growing global energy demand poses considerable challenges requiring significant investment
  • in all scenarios (Global and UK), oil will remain the major energy source for several decades
  • oil isn’t running out yet but like many other raw materials is a finite resource, so greater emphasis on improving energy efficiency will be integral to underpinning future energy security and delivering cost-effectively the carbon reductions required by legislators
  • a whole range of fuels and technologies will be required as part of the  future energy mix
  • moving to alternatives takes time and needs a consistent, clear policy framework based on sound science and cost effectiveness
  • since technology alone cannot deliver all the carbon savings required under legislative and other frameworks, major changes in consumer behaviour and lifestyle will be required to meet emissions’ reductions; Government should strive for open debate of the costs to industry and consumers  associated with meeting these targets, alongside the expected benefits
  • the UK oil refining industry is a valuable asset making a significant contribution to the UK’s economy with a long record as a reliable source of energy and industrial feedstocks, creating wealth, and supporting employment and skills
  • the industry is facing major challenges; refining output needs to adapt to changing demand patterns and legislation but uncertainties about the impacts combined with a tough commercial climate make the investment case difficult
  • in shaping its future energy strategy, the Government has to consider the UK’s requirements for a robust and resilient energy sector and formulate policy that will help deliver this objective
  • oil refining will continue to be a vital part of the energy mix but without coherent policy direction, parts of the sector may be at risk resulting in unintended consequences for energy supply and resilience.ontinue to be a vital part of the energy mix but without coherent policy direction, parts of the sector may be es1. UKPIA represents 1. UKPIA represents ilience.


     A copy of the report can be found by clicking here

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