French oil giant total has said that its will cut 180 jobs at its Lindsey refinery in Lincolnshire and scale back production from the plant after it posted a loss of $5.7bn in the fourth quarter.
The paris-based company said that it would reduce the workforce at the Lindsey plant to 400 workers, from a staff of around 580, and halve production by about 5m tonnes at the site.
In 2010, a man was killed after a massive explosion at the Lindsey plant in East Lincolnshire and Total was forced to halt crude oil supply to the 221,000 barrel-per-day facility.
Total has joined a growing list of oil and gas companies in the UK cutting back jobs amid a slide in the price of crude. BP and Talisman both recently announced hundreds of job cuts to North Sea operations and Royal Dutch Shell said that it will reduce spending.
The Total announcemnet is a further blow also to the UK’s refining industry amid a number of closures. last year, Britain became a net importer of refined products such as diesel for the first time since 1984 following the closure of the Coryton refinery in 2012 and lower production from the North Sea.
Coryton, which was sold by BP to Petroplus in 2006 for $1.4bn (£841m), once supplied between 10pc and 15pc of the UK’s petroleum products.
Downstream petroleum industries such as refineries and petrochemicals plants in the UK have suffered from high operating costs and steady declines in demand for conventional fuels.
In 2013, Ineos threatened to close down the giant Grangemouth refinery and petrochemicals complex in Scotland after racking up losses in the region of £600m over the past four years. In December, the plant was reportedly losing about £10m a month due to the combination of high labour costs and dwindling feedstocks.
By Andrew Critchlow