Castrol to Shut Last UK Blend Site

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BP Castrol last week said it plans to close its lubricant blending plant in Ellesmere Port, England, in fall of 2009. The site – the companys last such plant in the United Kingdom – manufactures Castrol GTX, GTX Magnetec and Duckhams brand motor oils.

Robert Wine, BP Castrol spokesman, said the company informed staff Nov. 19 of plans to close the facility. Its a fairly small operation, and about 40 people will be affected by the closure, Wine told Lube Report. The plan is to close it within the next 10 months, so it would close in about September of next year. What we will be doing is moving the production that comes out of there to some of our other plants in Europe.

According to Wine, the company planned to close it for economic reasons, including, to concentrate production in fewer sites, getting the benefits of scale. It doesnt affect our sales, marketing, or distribution in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

He noted that BP Castrol will retain a logistics and warehousing operation in the UK, as it is separate from the manufacturing operation.

Ellesmere Port is near Liverpool, in northwestern England. Its part of Castrols history, from long before BP bought the company, Wine added. What was then BP Amoco acquired the then Burmah Castrol in 2000.

Trade union Unite, which represents the workforce at the plant, said it is holding talks with managers at BP Castrol about the closure, and expects to meet again on Dec. 1.

Unite is seeking clarity on the rationale behind this decision, and an explanation as to why such a successful operation is closing down, Unite regional officer Graham Daley said. Workers at the BP Castrol site have hit all the targets set by the company and did not expect closure. We believe that a company that makes substantial profits in this country has an obligation to maintain a plant in this country.

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