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.

What does the preferred corridor announcement mean?

The announcement informs individuals, communities, representatives and organisations about the preferred pipeline corridor we will progress. No further work is planned on the de-selected corridors.

Who took the decision (to select the preferred corridor)?

The selection was made by the Project Executive, Tim Sunderland, supported by relevant technical experts.

How was the decision taken?

The project team discussed the consultation feedback and the technical information to consider how each corridor performed against the project’s objectives and guiding principles.

What does ‘preferred corridor’ mean?

The purpose of the initial consultation was to help us select a preferred corridor for the replacement pipeline from a number of corridor options. Corridors are typically around 200 metres wide. We will now develop a route, which will follow the preferred corridor that will typically be a width closer to 20-30 metres. We will consult on the preferred route in autumn 2018.

Why isn’t more information being provided on the corridor / route within the corridor?

Now we have selected the preferred corridor we will continue our conversations with local authorities, parish councils and landowners, where necessary, to understand local environmental and engineering features, as well as the potential impacts of the pipeline.

Why haven’t you provided a more detailed map?

This announcement about the preferred corridor selection relates to the proposals set out at the start of the consultation on the corridor options. More details will be available on the preferred route at the second consultation in autumn 2018.

How are you developing the route?

We are considering route specific feedback from the consultation and will continue to collect data from organisations such as local councils, environmental specialists and utility companies as well as undertaking our own studies. The team will identify an initial working route and will speak to landowners, where necessary.

Who is Esso?

Esso is a brand of ExxonMobil, which has operated in the UK for over 120 years. In the early days ExxonMobil imported high quality lamp oil to the UK market. Today our focus on quality fuels remains, but our operations are far more extensive. Esso owns and operates 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. ExxonMobil is one of the UK’s largest petrochemical manufacturers with major plants at Fawley, Fife and Newport. ExxonMobil also holds an interest in nearly 40 producing oil and gas fields in the UK North Sea, and 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).

How can I find out more?

For the Corridor Options Consultation we produced a comprehensive consultation brochure, alongside other information that provides important background information and detailed explanation on the proposed pipeline corridors. We will continue to update the information on this website and will produce further information as the project goes forward. Please sign up 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.