Fuels Industry UK members operate the six major oil refineries in the UK. 

No two refineries are quite the same.

UK refineries each have their own particular characteristics and idiosyncrasies, a reflection of how they have had to evolve over many years to meet the growing and changing demand for fuels and other products.

As what the UK wants has changed, so too have the refineries – spending billions of pounds over the years to develop greater operational flexibility. In the last 20 years or so the effort was to be able to produce more diesel as the UK consumer bought more diesel cars, our companies have also invested heavily to make sure that there is no sulphur (less than 0.001%) in our road fuels, reducing significantly the impact to urban air quality over the years.

The UK’s six refineries also have the size and scale needed to help decarbonise UK industry. They are crucial to producing the UK’s conventional fuels as well as the low carbon liquid fuels and hydrogen the country needs to achieve its climate ambitions.


Located along Britain's coast and estuaries, or with connections to deep-water navigation channels capable of taking large tankers, the UK's refining infrastructure is a critical component to the national energy landscape.

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Refinery operations can be broken down into five main processes:

  • Distillation which separates crude oil into the different refinery streams.
  • Conversion and reforming which improve the quality of these streams and adjusts the yields to meet market demand.
  • Desulphurisation which reduces the sulphur in the streams to the required level.
  • Blending of the refinery streams to produce the final products meeting current regulations and specifications.

Refineries are major employers, each supporting hundreds of jobs for both employees and skilled contractors, as well as injecting significant investment into their wider local economies, including substantial community grants and charitable initiatives.

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