Esso launches consultation on design refinements for its replacement underground aviation fuel pipeline

Leatherhead, Surrey — Esso is today announcing that communities, landowners, statutory bodies and organisations will have an opportunity to give their feedback on elements of its pipeline proposals with the launch of a third consultation. The company is asking for comments on its proposed temporary logistics hubs (used to store materials and equipment) and refinements made in some areas to the design of the pipeline route.


  • 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
  • Feedback from previous consultations has helped Esso confirm its proposals for the project along the majority of its pipeline route
  • The company is now asking for further comment in some areas where consultation feedback and additional knowledge has helped identify where it could further amend its design

The consultation will be open from 21 January until 23:59 on 19 February 2019, with the company also providing the opportunity for people to talk to its experts in person at two public events scheduled in Farnborough and Ashford₂.

Esso Project Executive Tim Sunderland said: “As a company that strives to be a ‘good neighbour’, we’re really pleased that more than 1,300 people have taken part in our consultations to date. This feedback, combined with our ongoing meetings and conversations with landowners, communities and organisations, has really helped us understand local perspectives. Since the completion of our second consultation, we’ve been reviewing comments alongside further technical work, and as a result we have been able to confirm our proposals along the majority of our pipeline route. In some areas the feedback has helped us to identify some refinements to the design of the pipeline route. Also, now that we have a clearer idea of where the pipeline route might go, we are sharing the details of our six proposed temporary logistics hubs, which will support the installation of the pipeline.

“This next consultation seeks the views of landowners, communities, statutory bodies, environmental organisations and local authorities on the more complex design refinements, to make sure that, on balance, we have selected the most appropriate route for the replacement pipeline.”

The London to Southampton pipeline project is a proposal to replace 90km of an 105km existing aviation fuel pipeline running from Fawley Refinery near Southampton to Esso’s West London Terminal storage facility.

  • 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

The existing pipeline runs through Hampshire and Surrey with the proposed replacement pipeline taking a mostly similar route. The pipeline is buried underground and transports aviation fuel, contributing to the economies of Hampshire, Surrey and London, and protecting jobs and investment.

In spring 2019, Esso will submit its formal application for permission to install the replacement pipeline to the Planning Inspectorate. The permission is called a Development Consent Order (often referred to as a ‘DCO’) and the decision whether to approve the proposal will be made by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Note to editors:

  1. Based on Esso’s 2015 data for the existing pipeline
  2. The consultation opens on Monday 21 January and ends at 23:59 on Tuesday 19 February 2019. The two public events will be held in:
    1. Farnborough, 5th February 2019, 2pm – 8pm
      Cody Sports and Social Club, The Fairway, Old Ively Road, Farnborough, GU14 0FE
    2. Ashford, 9 February 2019, 11am – 5pm
      Salvation Army, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, TW15 3JY
  3. The project website can be found at

Project background

Spring 2018: First consultation held, helping to select the preferred corridor for the replacement pipeline. (Corridors being typically around 200 metres wide).

Summer 2018: An initial working route was publicly released.

Autumn 2018: Second public consultation held, this time on the preferred route for the replacement pipeline and the project as a whole. (A route is typically in the region of 20-30 metres wide for the installation period.)

Media enquiries

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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.

As part of this consultation, Esso will be hosting two 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.