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Greenergy to open storage at UK's Thames Oilport by mid-2016

London — * Vopak sells UK assets for GBP300 million
* Greenergy to control former Coryton site
* Macquarie buys three other Vopak terminals

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The UK's new Thames Oilport terminal will open for diesel storage by mid-2016, Greenergy, the UK's biggest road fuel supplier, said Monday after acquiring the stake in the project owned by Dutch tank storage company Vopak.

Greenergy said work is under way to complete engineering and commissioning needed to bring into use an initial 175,000 cu m of tankage at Thames Oilport -- to the east of London -- to be used for diesel storage from the second quarter of 2016.



Vopak said at the weekend it agreed to sell UK assets, including its share in Thames Oilport, to Greenergy and Macquarie Capital for a combined GBP300 million ($447 million).

Under the deal, Greenergy will acquire Vopak's 33.3% investment in the Thames Oilport terminal, the former Coryton refinery converted to a deepwater oil storage facility.

Following completion of the deal, Greenergy will double its stake in terminal to 66.6%. Shell holds the remaining 33.3%.

"The continued development of Thames Oilport is strategically important for Greenergy. These are significant steps towards the realisation of a new, fully-operational fuel import and distribution terminal at this location," Greenergy said in a statement.

Vopak acquired the site of the former Coryton refinery in a joint venture project with Shell and Greenergy, with the aim of building a new refined products import terminal.

But the terminal, originally scheduled to launch at the end of 2013, has faced delays and full redevelopment plans are under review.

In June, the three partners decided to sell 403 acres of land that will not be needed for the terminal and keep 161 acres. Greenergy said the sale of the land was "progressing well" and talks were underway with a shortlist of potential buyers.

OTHER TERMINALS

The sale of Vopak's UK assets will also see control of its three other UK terminals, Vopak Terminal London, Vopak Terminal Teesside and Vopak Terminal Windmill, transfer to a new UK storage venture between Greenergy and Macquarie Capital, the investment unit of Australia's Macquarie Group investment bank.

Under the deal, Greenergy said the newly created Navigator Terminals will control the three Vopak terminals and Greenergy's North Tees storage terminal, creating UK's largest independent bulk liquid storage provider with an initial storage capacity of 1.5 million cu m.

Vopak said in July it was in early storage discussions with potential buyers after receiving a non-binding offer for all of its UK assets.

The company said the sale of the UK assets forms part of a divestment program under which its Swedish entity Vopak Sweden in June to refocus on the global energy markets and strengthen its financial position.

Both transactions were expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter, subject to conditions, Vopak said, adding it expected to book a profit from the sale of some GBP200 million next year.

Vopak operates 74 terminals in 26 countries with a combined storage capacity of 34.5 million cu m, with another 4.2 million cu m under development.

--Robert Perkins, robert.perkins@platts.com
--Edited by Dan Lalor, daniel.lalor@platts.com