What do we use fuel pipelines for?

Largely hidden from view, the UK is criss-crossed by a network of underground fuel pipelines transporting diesel, petrol and aviation fuel. This is a safe, secure and low impact method of moving fuel over long distances. According to the UK Petroleum Association, more than 30 million tonnes of fuels are safely transported through UK pipelines every year. This takes around one million tanker journeys off our roads, reducing traffic congestion. Our pipeline control centre, staffed 24 hours a day and seven days a week, uses sophisticated tools to monitor all aspects of the pipeline. If a change is detected, an automatic system sets off an alarm. If necessary, we can immediately shut down the pipeline

Why does this pipeline need to be replaced?

Replacement of the pipeline will maintain the supply of aviation fuel for years to come. As a responsible operator, Esso is committed to safe operations that include maintaining, repairing and, where appropriate, replacing pipelines.

Replacement of the pipeline is being undertaken now to allow appropriate time for design, consultation, the Development Consent Order process and installation, whilst also maintaining the operation of the existing pipeline.

Who is Esso?

Esso is a brand of ExxonMobil, which has operated in the UK for over 120 years. In the early days we imported high quality lamp oil to the UK market. Today our focus on quality fuels remains, but our operations are far more extensive. We own and operate the UK’s largest refinery at Fawley, which provides fuel for more than 800,000 retail customers every day at Esso-branded service stations. Our underground distribution pipeline network transports fuel from Fawley to our fuel terminals at Avonmouth, Birmingham, Hythe, Purfleet, West London and also for use at the UK’s busiest airports. We are one of the UK’s largest petrochemical manufacturers with major plants at Fawley, Fife and Newport. We also hold an interest in nearly 40 producing oil and gas fields in the UK North Sea, and we hold a stake in the South Hook Liquefied Natural Gas plant at Milford Haven in Wales, which has the capacity to import 20 percent of the UK’s gas demand.

Have alternative options been considered?

At this stage Esso has considered alternative ways of transporting fuel, particularly by road.
This pipeline will keep around 100 road tankers off the road every day (an estimate based on the volume of aviation fuel transferred from the Fawley Refinery to the West London Terminal via pipeline in 2015).

When will details of the proposals be available?

We launched a public consultation on the pipeline route choices on 19th March 2018. This consultation period will close on 30th April 2018 at 23:45.

How can I find out more and give my views?

We have a comprehensive consultation brochure that provides you with important background information and detailed explanation on the proposed pipeline corridors. Please sign up to our electronic newsletter, which will be sent out throughout 2018. This will keep you informed about project announcements, and provide details about our upcoming consultations.

Which company is making the Development Consent Order application?

Esso Petroleum Company, Limited (Esso) is the owner of the current pipeline and will make the Development Consent Order application to construct and own the new pipeline.

Please note: References to “Esso” on this website refer throughout to Esso Petroleum Company, Limited and nothing on this website should be construed to override corporate separateness.