Russian Billionaire to Help Make Green Fuel at Ex-BP Refinery

Apr 16, 2014 6:58 am ET

April 16 (Bloomberg) -- Velocys Plc, partly funded by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, will help make jet fuel from landfill waste at the site of the Coryton oil refinery, formerly owned by BP Plc, in east London.

British Airways Plc and its partner Solena Fuels will use Velocys’s technology to convert 575,000 metric tons of trash into 120,000 tons of fuels a year once the facility is completed in 2017, the carrier said today in a statement. The airline has committed to buy fuel for the next 11 years from the GreenSky project, which equates to $550 million at today’s prices.

“The sustainable jet fuel produced each year will be enough to power our flights from London City Airport twice over with carbon savings the equivalent of taking 150,000 cars off the road,” Willie Walsh, chief executive officer at British Airways’ parent company International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, said in the statement.

Airline companies including Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and Qatar Airways Ltd. have pledged to buy eco-friendly fuel to reduce greenhouse emissions and help curb global warming. Air industry executives will meet later this month in Geneva to discuss sustainable development to meet demand over the next 100 years.

The fuel facility will be based at the Thames Enterprise Park in Thurrock, Essex, neighboring the Thames Oilport, a joint venture between Royal Vopak NV, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Greenergy International Ltd. The three companies bought the Coryton refinery in 2012 from Petroplus Holdings AG, which had acquired it from BP in 2007.

Barclays Plc is advising GreenSky’s partners on the funding of the project.