ECC Committee call for evidence on UK Oil Refining

18 April 2013

The UK’s oil refining industry supplies over 30% of the primary energy used by consumers in the UK and manufactures over 90% of the petroleum products sold in the UK.

UK oil refining capacity has declined from 18 refineries in the late 1970s to seven today. With two refineries having closed between 2009 and 2012, the loss of further UK refining capability may pose a risk to energy security of supply and resilience, by increasing dependence on imports. 

A Deloitte report commissioned by DECC in 2010 concluded that UK refineries were facing increased pressure from a number of different sources, including increased competition from refineries in the Middle East and Asia, expected slow growth in demand and increasingly stringent environmental standards.

The Committee seeks to investigate the potential energy security implications of refinery closures and what needs to be done in order to maintain a suitable baseline level of capacity.

Terms of Reference

The Committee invites short submissions of evidence (which will be used to identify witnesses for oral evidence) on any or all of the following terms of reference:

1. What are the factors that have lead to closures of UK refineries? Why is production increasing overseas?

2. What impact (if any) has UK and EU regulation had on the UK refining industry?

3. What part will refined oil products play in the UK’s energy requirements and transport in particular to 2030 and beyond?  What mix of products is likely to be required and how well does this match with current UK refining capacity?

4. What is considered to be the right balance between oil products refined locally and imports and what are the current and future scenarios?

5. What are the factors, both domestic and international, that will determine the future viability of the UK refining industry?

6. What impact would the closure of UK refineries have on (a) energy supply security (b)environmental objectives and (c) the price of petroleum products in the UK?

7. What would be an appropriate baseline level of refining capacity in order for the UK to remain broadly self-reliant in an emergency?

8. What steps could the UK Government take to maintain an appropriate baseline level of refining capacity?

9. What is the significance and potential future impact of the changing ownership of UK refineries in recent years?

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Monday 20 May 2013.

Notes on submission of written evidence

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submission of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via the link at the top of this page.

The deadline is 20 May 2013. Short submissions of evidence are invited, ideally of no more than 1000, but up to 3000 words if necessary. Please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this. If you need to send hard copy please send it to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

Submissions must be a Word document, in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Publication of evidence

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act. We may also ask you to comment on the process of submitting evidence via the web portal so that we can look to make improvements. If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information or do not wish your details to be used for the purpose of collecting feedback, please advise the Committee Team at

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