Total underlines serious concerns over no-deal Brexit petrol tariffs
By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 8 Apr 2019
Total Lindsey oil Refinery bosses have underlined the serious concerns about tariff imparity under a potential no-deal Brexit, stopping short of saying 900 jobs are on the line.
The North Killingholme plant, having previously been put on the market by the French owner before a major reorganisation and single-streaming saw it emerge leaner and keener, was brought up in Westminster by Grimsby MP Melanie Onn last week.
She cited the potential loss or downgrading of 900 jobs as a 0 per cent import rate could see cheap US fuel flood the market, in an oil equivalent of Chinese steel dumping on the UK.
Melanie Onn raises the issue brought to her attention by Total Lindsey Oil Refinery in the House of Commons.
In a statement issued by the team following her Brexit question in the House, the company said: “Total Lindsey Oil Refinery is in regular contact with its local stakeholders regarding its business. “Total Lindsey Oil Refinery has been operational for over 50 years and in that time has become a well-established part of the local economy providing highly skilled employment across the region.
“As a business we have prepared for the UK leaving the European Union, however we have serious concerns about the tariff proposals from the Department for International Trade in the event of a no-deal Brexit. These proposals would set tariffs for imported gasoline to 0 per cent, whilst exports from the UK would have a 4.7 per cent rate applied. This will undermine the competitiveness of our business.
“We are committed to refining in Europe and in the UK. During the summer of 2019 Total Lindsey Oil Refinery will be completing a $100 million (£76m) investment programme to upgrade our facilities to produce higher quality low sulphur fuels and improve our energy efficiency. We have also recently launched a further $25m (£19m) investment programme for 2020 to continue improving our refining process and upgrade our products’ qualities to match the energy needs of the UK for the future.”
The very real issue for people of northern Lincolnshire quickly became politicised in the Chamber, with Ms Onn, having posed the question, asked why she’d voted against Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal three times, leading to the current impasse as an already-extended clock ticks down. Junior Brexit minister Kwasi Kwarteng, pictured above, was at the despatch box.
Neighbouring Port of Immingham has already seen record container volumes as importers seek to beat any Brexit-changing trade terms, and while Grimsby’s seafood industry has breathed a collective sigh of relief as the holy trinity of Iceland, Norway and the Faroes are now under trade deals, car imports will be slapped with significant levies.