UPDATE 1-UK’s Coryton oil storage terminal opens as glut grows

(Adds quotes, details on expansion plans)

* Thames Oilport near London opens after almost 4 years

* Project has benefited from rising oil supplies

* Operator Greenergy sees more investments

By Ron Bousso and Libby George

LONDON, April 6 The Thames Oilport terminal near
London opened on Wednesday after nearly four years of
development, at a time a global oil glut and a collapse in fuel
prices is making storage an attractive investment.

A first tanker, the Seaconger, carrying 21,000 tonnes of
diesel was discharging at the terminal, built on the site of the
Coryton refinery whose owner Petroplus went bankrupt in 2012,
operator Greenergy said.

The terminal is due to be filled to its current capacity of
176,000 cubic metres with fuel, predominantly to serve the
London region and southeast England, Thames Oilport said in a
statement.

Thames Oilport is operated and partly owned by Britain’s
largest oil storage company, Greenergy, while Royal Dutch Shell
owns a third.

The companies plan to add 64,000 cubic metres of capacity by
the end of September this year and while the terminal will
initially be used to hold diesel, other fuels will be added.

“Significant progress has been made over recent months, both
on site and in the planning process, and we now have a route map
to turn Thames Oilport into a fully-fledged import terminal,”
Greenergy Chief Executive Andrew Owens said.

The terminal will be capable of taking vessels of up to
60,000 tonnes, Greenergy said.

Thames Oilport is also connected to pipelines that feed
other parts of the United Kingdom, including the CLH Pipeline
System and the UKOP system, but neither Shell nor Greenergy have
said if they intend to use them.

NEW TRANSACTIONS

The Coryton project has had a bumpy path since its start
almost four years ago, with partners scrapping an initial plan
for a larger terminal and Dutch storage company Vopak
selling its stake.

But the launch comes at a time when oil producers and
traders are scrambling to store fuel as global supplies swell, a
fact that has made investments in tanks highly attractive in
recent years.

It also provides a much-needed import point for the United
Kingdom, which relies heavily on diesel imports.

Greenergy last year formed a partnership with Macquarie
Capital, the investment arm of Macquarie Group to buy
Vopak’s UK assets, including its 33 percent stake in Thames
Oilport, as well as the North Tees storage assets in Teeside.

Owens told Reuters he plans to expand Greenergy’s operations
in the United Kingdom and abroad and was looking for “material
transactions”.

Greenergy also operates in Canada, the United States and
Brazil.

Greenergy’s sales volumes rose in 2015 to 15.6 billion
litres from 15 billion a year earlier while operating profit
climbed to 16.4 million pounds ($23.1 million) from 13.6 million
in 2014, according to the company’s annual report.

($1 = 0.7102 pounds)

(Editing by David Clarke)

The article UPDATE 1-UK's Coryton oil storage terminal opens as glut grows was originally published at Reuters - US Energy.