Esso launches consultation on the preferred route for its replacement underground aviation fuel pipeline from Southampton to London

LEATHERHEAD, Surrey — Esso is today launching a detailed statutory consultation on the preferred route for the underground Southampton to London aviation fuel pipeline and associated project proposals, which will replace 90km of the existing 105km pipeline that runs from its Fawley Refinery near Southampton to its West London Terminal storage facility in Hounslow.
  • Buried replacement pipeline to transport aviation fuel, contribute to the economies of Hampshire, Surrey and London, and protect jobs and investment
  • Pipeline will keep around 100 fuel delivery tankers off the road each day1
  • Esso is seeking the views of the public on this proposed strategic national asset ahead of its planning application
  • Communities are invited to 11 public consultation meetings near to the preferred route
  • The pipeline will help maintain around 1,000 highly skilled engineering jobs at the UK’s largest refinery at Fawley
  • Once installed, the pipeline will be buried underground and will be unnoticeable to most people
  • Pipelines are a safe, secure and low-impact method of moving fuel over long distances to meet customer needs

Esso has been consulting widely with the public to determine the preferred route for the pipeline and associated project proposals. It held a non-statutory consultation in March and April 2018 on pipeline corridors, which were around 200m wide. An initial working route that followed the selected corridor was announced in June 2018. The consultation being launched today provides additional opportunities for anyone to comment on the project and to learn more about its plans, including:

  • The preferred route of the underground replacement pipeline;
  • The location of above ground infrastructure, such as isolation valves and inspection stations;
  • A preliminary view on potential environmental impacts, based on expert research to date; and
  • Preliminary project management and installation plans.

As part of this statutory consultation, Esso will be hosting 11 public consultation events to enable local communities to meet the project team and ask questions. Esso has also produced a series of detailed and easy to read consultation materials that provide an overview of the proposals. These include maps and information about the pipeline route, and how people can take part in the consultation. These are available on the project website,, and will be available at the events. Printed copies will also be placed at local information points.

Esso Project Executive, Tim Sunderland, said: “As a company that strives to be a ‘good neighbour’, we’re really grateful to the more than 1,000 people who have commented on our plans to date. The feedback they have provided has helped us understand local perspectives, and community members have provided a wealth of information about their local areas, which we have found very useful.

“We conducted an initial consultation in the spring, and over the summer we met again with potentially affected landowners, while continuing our technical work. The information we gathered helped us refine our plans. Now that we have a preferred route for the replacement underground pipeline and other proposals for the project, we are once again seeking the views of local communities to help shape this important project.”

Stephen Marcos Jones, Director General of the UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) commented on the strategic significance of this proposed national infrastructure asset: “Looking to the future, our sector will continue to adapt and evolve to provide the products demanded by society. Projects like this will help secure the supply of aviation fuel to satisfy the UK’s significant and growing demand for air travel for both business and pleasure alike.”

The preferred pipeline route may be subject to change following the responses received from this consultation. Esso will then submit a formal application to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to install the replacement pipeline. The permission is called a Development Consent Order (often referred to as a ‘DCO’) and approval for this will be a decision for the Secretary of State of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The consultation opens on Thursday 6 September 2018 and ends on Friday 19 October 2018. For regular project updates, details on how to respond and to find out more about the proposals, visit the project website: and sign-up for e-newsletters.

About 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.

Notes for editors:

1 Based on Esso’s 2015 data for the existing pipeline

The consultation opens on Thursday 6 September 2018 and ends on Friday 19 October 2018. For regular project updates, details on how to respond and to find out more about the proposals, visit the project website: and sign up for e-newsletters.

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