CORYTON oil refinery will remain open for at least another week, despite a temporary deal to keep it open expiring today.

The plant, which employs 1,000 people, is at risk of closure unless an agreement can be reached to save it. A shipment of crude oil arrived this week which will keep it operational while administrators try a last-ditch bid to broker a deal for the site.

Richard Howitt, Labour’s Euro MP for the area, called a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to see what more could be done at a European level.

The future of the refinery has been in the balance since January when its parent company Petroplus went bankrupt.

Mr Howitt, along with Coryton workforce representative Russ Ball, discussed with Euro policy makers ideas such as imposing an import tax on the plant’s Asian and Middle Eastern rivals, in a bid to make Coryton more appealing to any buyer.

Mr Howitt said: “We put Coryton’s case to remain as a competitive, long-term commercial operator and for European action to send clear market signals which could make all the difference for current negotiations to be successfully finalised. I know the administrators have made a request for state aid.

“Speaking to them on Monday night, they told me there are still lots of parties interested and there will be visits to Coryton this week.

“I still feel that a deal can be done. But there is always going to be a certain degree of mystery because of the big money, $1billion, that is at stake.”

Stephen Metcalfe, MP for East Thurrock, said: “Everyone continues to work tirelessly to find a long term, sustainable solution to the challenges the business faces.

“I would imagine at this point in discussion it would be unhelpful to speculate about what the outcome will be.

“I continue to offer my complete support and hope any announcement will be positive.”