A refinery producing fuel for vehicles and aircraft has been sold to a Swiss company for just over £715m ($1.4bn).
Oil giant BP has sold the Coryton refinery in Essex, which produces 10 million tonnes a year, to Petroplus Holdings of Zug.
The complex on the Thames Estuary is being sold as a going concern and was the only BP refinery in the UK.
Coryton employs 550 staff and about 500 contractors with 75% of output going to petrol, diesel and aircraft fuels.
Staff will transfer
The sale price includes an adjacent bulk terminal and BP's UK bitumen business closely integrated with the refinery.
BP's chief executive of refining and marketing John Manzoni said: "BP does not need to own a refinery in the UK and the sale will enable us to continue to concentrate on continually improving our remaining European refineries."
Petroplus own refineries in Teesside, Cressier in Switzerland and at Antwerp in Belgium. The company is also negotiating the purchase of Ingolstadt refinery in Germany currently owned by Exxon.
The sale is expected to be completed in mid-2007 with Coryton staff transferring to the new company.