Peak oil preview: London motorists could soon be without gasoline

Call it a fire drill for the day the world runs out of petroleum. A refinery supplying a sixth of England's southeast halts deliveries.
Written by Mark Halper, Contributor

Call it a fire drill for the day the world runs out of petroleum. London motorists  awoke this morning to a news report that they might not have gasoline.

"There may be severe problems of supply across the whole of London and the southeast to petrol forecourts,  with a refinery stopping deliveries which supplies one sixth of the market," politician Richard Howitt told BBC's Radio 4. (A petrol forecourt is Britspeak for a gas station).

The refinery in Coryton, England is part of Petroplus Holdings, a Swiss company that plans to file for insolvency after creditors demanded it pay off debts triggering a $1.75 billion default on notes and bonds, according to Reuters. The company had suspended trading on the Swiss SIX stock exchange on Monday.

"Petroplus has emailed customers to say that all supplies from its Coryton refinery in England have been halted, a market source said, after the company said it would file for insolvency," Reuters reported at 7:34 a.m. London time.

Petroplus is Europe's largest independent refiner, with facilities in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland, the BBC website notes. Motorists in those countries could also be affected. Petroplus' customers include BP and other major oil companies.

Howitt said his information came from the European head of  "one major oil company" and from the UK Petroleum Industry Association. Howitt is the elected MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for the East of England. A shutdown could cost 1,000 jobs in Coryton.

Good morning London. You might want to check the bus schedule.

Photo from Petroplus

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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