OIL giant BP Castrol is to close its Stanlow site resulting in the loss of nearly 100 jobs.
Union leaders are in urgent talks with managers at BP Castrol after the company announced its plan to close its site at Ellesmere Port.
Nearly 100 jobs at the lubricant plant, which blends and fills oil for Castrol GTX, GTX Magnetec and Duckhams, will be lost if the closure goes ahead.
BP blames market challenges on the move and plans to streamline operations by transferring the work to other plants in Europe.
Those plants will then provide lubricants for the UK market.
Regional officer of trade union Unite, Graham Daley, said: “We are shocked and saddened about the announcement.
“Our members at BP Castrol, Ellesmere Port are very angry.
“Unite is seeking clarity on the rationale behind this decision, and an explanation as to why such a successful operation is being closed down.
"Our first concern is for our members and their families, for whom this will have come as a major blow just prior to Christmas.
“Workers at the BP Castrol site have hit all the targets set by the company and did not expect closure.
“This is a profitable company that intends to transfer the work to Europe.
“We believe that a company that makes substantial profits in this country has an obligation to maintain a plant in this country.
“Unite and our hard working reps will do everything they can to explore alternatives to save the last remaining BP Castrol lubricant plant in the UK.”
A spokesman for the petrol conglomerate said: “Over the next ten months we propose our manufacturing operations should be transferred from Stanlow to other European plants while retaining a logistics and warehousing operation in the UK.
“The proposal to close the Stanlow blending plant has been made to ensure our business remains competitive and provides the best solution for our customers today, and into the future.
“We remain committed to the UK market, to providing value to our customer base and meeting your service expectations.”
“We've taken positive steps to reduce complexity and streamline operations.
“We have reviewed the situation continually but the ongoing market challenges have led us to where we are today.”