Fuel shortage fears hit London and South

* Panic buying reported after supplies halted * Coryton plant's owners in administration * Plants supplies 10% of UK's fuel...

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Pete Barden
25 January 2012

Fuel shortage fears hit London and South

Drivers in London and the South East have been told not to panic-buy petrol and diesel after deliveries from one of the region's largest fuel producers were halted.

Charles Hendry, the minister responsible for the supply of oil, urged drivers to 'carry on their lives as normal' after the fuel deliveries from the Coryton plant in Essex were stopped because its Swiss-owned parent company had gone into administration.

The fuel refinery in Coryton supplies a fifth of all fuel used in London and the South East, but Mr Hendry claimed that companies such as BP and Shell had been aware of the situation, and ensured they had enough spare capacity to keep the region's pumps flowing.

However, alongside worries about panic buying, it's also feared the drop in supply could force up prices on the forecourt.

The Coryton refinery supplies 10% of the UK's daily fuel production, which means a prolonged closure would inevitably push up prices and hit supply.

Brian Madderson of RMI Petrol, said: 'I am absolutely certain that we're going to see a new record-high of diesel at 1.43p per litre by the end of this month.

I suspect fuel supplies will be available until next week at least, and there are currently no reports of shortages or panic buying in the area.

He also said there was a tanker of crude oil waiting to deliver to Coryton, but it was waiting for confirmation of payment first.

However, according to the Telegraph, one petrol station a garage in Trumpington, which is near the M11 had run out of regular petrol and diesel because of 'panic buying'.

Industry experts have urged motorists not to panic buy fuel though, with Andrew Howard of The AA saying: If anything is going to cause a shortage it is the motorists who normally only fill up once a fortnight panicking and filling their tanks.

Pete Barden